Friday, Friday…and Socks

Sock: Wooly Mastadon

We made it! We made it to Friday. In all honestly, that doesn’t exactly mean a whole lot to me at this point in my life. I more often than not work right through the weekends and get my days off during the week, but I know it means a lot to most of you out there, especially with school right around the corner or already in session (I feel you Finlandia University peeps, I was there once). Still, Friday has to be good for something so here you go.

My knitting this week. I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t done as much as I would have liked, but I am happy with my progress. I have been focusing a bit on my scrap ghan but I mostly have been spending time with my toe-up socks. It looks like I started these guys way back in June, but that is okay since I almost exclusively work on them at work or on the go in small moments of time. I am now to the point where I am putting in the heels on my socks with the cheater after-thought heel (aka I place my scrap yarn for the heel while knitting the tubes) and am almost on the second sock. Hopefully I will get there today.

Sock: Wooly Mastadon

Because I am on the heels of my socks I decided this also meant I had to pick out some sock yarn to cast on my next pair. One of these days I’ll have to cast on a patterned sock but for now I’m still feeling the plain toe-up, after-thought heel socks. They are just so portable and easy to work on at work since I have the pattern mostly memorized. Thus, I chose some Plymouth Yarn Co. Happy Feet in the color #19 from my stash. It is a beautiful red with shades of purple and pink throughout. Although I am not always a red person, I thought these would make the perfect fall socks with deep tones, a slightly more bouncy feel, and just all over warmth. I can’t wait to cast these on and share my socks from this week with you soon. Until then happy Friday!

~Stay Inspired

Letterpress: A New Obsession

Letterpress: Wooly Mastadon

In my last pretty heavy thought post last week I mentioned that I had a lot going on lately and really wasn’t sure what I was doing with my life. Well, I’ve been in that rut for a while and thought, why not add something? Perhaps not the most logical idea but when the opportunity to get into a letterpress apprenticeship program arose, I jumped at it no questions asked. Now, you may be wondering what letterpress is. Letterpress is an old fashioned printing method. Think type-setting. Think meticulous spacing, the smell of old equipment, and the feeling of a connection to times past that is intoxicating and wonderful. Can you tell I love it already?

Letterpress: Wooly Mastadon

I don’t have images of the studio to share with you, that may come later, but I do have an image of a first small assignment that I think turned out decently well. We were asked to bring a short text to set and print, and I immediately thought of Imogen Heaps Neglected Space. I knew the lyrics would be a perfect fit to be set in type and printed using an old method. Thus I chose the phrase ‘I’m a story in mourning, and you’re the author / so pour out your masterpiece.’ I love how the small project turned out and am eager to try another (my sketchbook is overflowing with ideas but I will have to learn more to carry them out). But for now, I must say that I am excited to learn such a detail oriented and historical craft. I am learning in an up-and-coming studio and can’t wait until I am able to roam free and print my own projects.

One thing I can certainly say is this, graphic design has so much more meaning now. Settings that were normally very abstract in programs on the computer are now very, very real. Changing the leading of type literally means adding another piece of metal, often lead. Most of the intangible ideas of graphic design on the computer are now tangible and mean so much more. If you are in graphic design, and get the chance to work in a letterpress studio, even for a one day workshop, do it. It is worth every second. Who knows where this will take me.

~Stay Inspired

A Current Project Returns

Scrap Ghan: Wooly Mastadon

Hey there, this is a knitting/crochet/fiber blog and you are all probably wondering what happened to that after last week’s thought heavy posts. Well, you might just know that I haven’t been knitting near as much as I would like. I have spun a little but my progress is slow. My personal emotional rollercoaster has been interesting and a few new things were added to my plate, some willingly and some exciting (more on that later this week). For now, however, I thought I’d share an update on a project that hasn’t been seen around here for some time now, my scrap afghan. Yes, it still exists and is out of hibernation for as long as I can muster the courage to work on it.

Scrap Ghan: Wooly Mastadon

The thing is, I was stuck on this project. I stashed it away in a bag (and granted it had to be one of those weekender sized bags because this project is so large) and didn’t look at it for months. About two weeks ago I was chatting with some friends about knitting/crocheting afghans. They were both talking about starting one and I said I have had one in progress for months only to get stuck. I explained the particulars of how I had originally messed up the pattern motifs and ended up with circles instead of hexagons. Then I decided to put a border around the circles to force the hexagon shape. That border took so long and looked bad but I didn’t know what to do so I gave up. Both friends suggested I rip out the old border, punt the idea of the hexagon motif, and make the afghan an afghan of connected circles. I stood there for a second, shocked that I hadn’t thought of it, and went home that day ready to start the afghan once more. I ripped out and crocheted the new borders on the few motifs I had already done and started on the rest. Now I am slowly making my way through the motifs putting a simple black border around each piece which I will later attach into a more mesh-like afghan.

And I am making progress. Finally my scrap ‘ghan is out of hibernation and becoming something that I will either be able to stash away or gift away at some point, and it is all thanks to a few friends who pointed out the obvious. Granted, I am not making fast progress on this project by any means. I am slowly moving forward when I have the time and energy after work every once in a while to work on it. The main thing is this, that I am working on it again, and that I don’t think it will be sitting in it’s half-completed state for much longer. Now I just need to finish my Splitstone

~Stay Inspired

Where on Earth Did that Come From?

Who am I: Wooly Mastadon

I’ve been asking myself this question for awhile. I don’t know why, but in the past few weeks, I have been realizing some things that I do now that I never in a million years would have thought I would do 5 or 6 years ago, let alone even one year ago. I speak up, often. In my job, I have to tell people what to do in order to keep things running smoothly. When I first started, I’d ask the people to do something…it never came out as an order. Now it does. Mind you, I’m polite and try to tell people in a nice way or if needed in a matter-of-fact you-will-do-this-now way, never in a mean egotistical manner. But still, I wonder, when did this happen. I never viewed myself as a leader. I would just hide in the background, hoping something would happen while I waited. Now I just orchestrate whatever it is that needs to be done. If I need something to happen now, I find the person to do it (if it’s myself, great, then I’m at a head start) and make it happen. It is kind of confusing, even to myself.

The other day, I was talking to my Mom. She mentioned that she noticed that I was walking taller, confident in what I did and looking like I have my act together. The thing is, what I really wanted to ask was who she was actually looking at. I don’t have my act together at all. I’m a mess, pretty good at hiding things inside for a decent amount of time. I don’t work normal hours, and that makes my emotions turn into a roller coaster. Every second not spent at my ‘day job’ is either spent here on the blog, with graphic design clients, meetings, the local community arts center for various things since I’m on the board, and family and friends if I’m lucky. I find that if I have one day a week where I don’t have to leave the house for something, that is a treasure because normally my weeks are scheduled so that I can cram everything in. I go from meetings to work, to meetings, to graphic design, to work, to friends, to perhaps, if I’m lucky, sleep. That one day a week that I was planning on hoarding doesn’t exist anymore. Perhaps I get it once a month. And then, there are my hobbies, namely my love for this blog here. I knit and create in any spare moments I have, I obsorb reading material on the subject daily, I try to fit things in.

And apparently I am very, very good at hiding my mess. I must even scare some people because it seems that I can be blunt sometimes, and it looks like I know what I’m doing. I know my dripping sarcasm isn’t for everyone and I normally can keep that in check (most of my coworkers thankfully have a similar taste in humor so it all works out), but I don’t really know who I am. The other day, I saw my old chemistry teacher from high school. He asked if I’d be going back to school this year and I said no, not yet. We had a short conversation and it was surprising. I admitted I wanted to get my masters in something in art, but really didn’t know what anymore. The thing is, he seemed impressed, like that not knowing what I really wanted from life was a good thing. Is it? Is it really? I don’t know.

But why did I share this with you? Well, it’s because I have been sporadic in posting here, and now you know why. My mess is easily hidden in my day to day life, but somewhere it is going to have to show through and it seems that this space is where it lands. I haven’t done a thought post for awhile, and this is why. Hiding it is no longer an option. Positivity needs to be a focus. I don’t know who I am. Perhaps we will find out together.

Thanks for listening.

~Stay Inspired

What I’m Looking At

What I'm Looking At: Wooly Mastadon

I haven’t done a post like this in a while and I thought it made sense to share. I’ve been enjoying a lot around the internet lately, whether it be articles, songs, etc. So lets dive in.

This article on A Beautiful Mess really hit home. Anti-bullying is really a big deal as it should be. I wish there was more of it when I was in school because I know what it is like to be a victim. You don’t always realize how bad it is until you look back and see how it made you react, in my case hide. Good thoughts here.

I am a Neil Gaiman fan, although I haven’t ready near enough of his work. This article is perfect, but also brings up some very terrifying statistics. We need libraries, we need books, we need the written word, period.

I’ve been enjoying podcasts as usual but have added a few, namely A Homespun House and the YarnGasm Podcast. Molly and Kristen have so much to share. I love the projects they work on but my favorite part is when they talk about running their shops. I find it interesting and inspiring.

Now, to music. I have been binge listening to a few songs. At the top of my list, Shots by Imagine Dragons (the video is amazing too), Waiting for Love by Avicci (the interactive video is so cool), and Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap. In all honesty, Hide and Seek was spurred on by a bit of an inside joke with a coworker but after listening to the song after forgetting about it, I can’t get it out of my head.

As always, Ravelry and Pinterest have been up there too. I’ve been really liking my Design Inspiration board on Pinterest, but even just looking at all the things I’ve pinned and seeing trends in my taste has been fun. Ravelry has been about all of the shawls and sweaters lately. My queue has grown by quite a few awesome patterns in the past few weeks. It is hard to choose what to make next.

Well, that is about it for the week. Let me know if you like this type of post, I enjoy putting them together. Hope your Monday is awesome.

~Stay Inspired

Positivity

Positivity: Wooly Mastadon

Positivity. We all need it. I need to share more of it here. Lately I have noticed that there is always a slight negative undertone to what I do and write on this blog. There is always a ‘but’ or a ‘however’ that takes the side of the not so lovely. Yes, these ideas and opposing or negative opinions to different topics are indeed essential (especially when reviewing something, I want to be honest here) but I also realize that I can become bogged down by the negative vibes. After reading this post on A Beautiful Mess today about bullying, I thought one of the corollaries to this post was perfect: be kind. Just be kind, stay positive, and stand strong for you and others. It is something that I need to remember and something that I feel everyone has room to grow in. Let’s make this weekend and the following weeks going into another school year (whether you are in school or not) an opportunity to start fresh and start cultivating and helping spread positivity. It’s needed, and especially on a Friday when I’m tired and sick of it all, I need that reminder. I am truly blessed.

~Stay Inpsired

FO: Lionberry Shawl

Lionberry Shawl: Wooly Mastadon

It’s done! I finished the Lionberry shawl. I absolutely love the result and this is the best blocking success I have had while blocking shawls…but this is enough gushing for now. Last week I was able to take some time to just sit, knit, and watch podcasts. I decided I was going to finish Lionberry not matter what, so this is what I worked on. That determination paid off. Now I have a shawl that is ready to wear and more importantly, that I want to wear.

Lionberry Shawl: Wooly Mastadon

The shawl is knit using the pattern Lionberry by Narniel of Endor (free on Ravelry) in Knit Picks Chroma Fingering in the Galapagos colorway. I did make a few mistakes in that instead of a top seed stitch section there is a top ribbing and I had to improvise increases here and there. In the end, I ended up weighing my ball of yarn every row and opted to cut out two rows at the end to make sure I had enough yarn for the picot bind-off. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have had to cut out those rows, I would have had just enough, but I absolutely hate playing yarn chicken and prefered to be safe than have to rip out a bind off and go from there. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d like my yarn choice, I was worried the yarn wouldn’t show off the patterning on the shawl. I shouldn’t have worried, I think it works perfectly. You can see the patterning while still enjoying the color changes in the yarn. It enhances some of the sections too, which I love. I have quite a few skeins of this yarn in different colorways in my stash: they may have to all become fingering weight shawlettes, I love this so much. The only bit of warning I need to give for this pattern, there is some errata, so you have to watch. I was able to catch most of it, and some of it is already corrected in the pattern, but newb knitters might want to wait before they knit this. Even so, I love the resulting shawl.

Well, that is all. I will be back to report on how my other projects are going. We’re half way through the week already, it can only get better from here.

~Stay Inspired

Another Week…And I’m Still Exhausted

WIPs Forever: Wooly MastadonThat title doesn’t bode well on this post, but in reality, I actually got some knitting done this week. It was one of those weeks where I worked a few late shifts at work and just really couldn’t recoup my energy…let’s face it, I’m a morning person through and through, whether I want to admit it or not. Next week will be worse, as I have double the amount of late shifts I did this week, but I digress. Knitting, your’re here for knitting. Well, it just so happens that on my days off this week (today included, yay) as part of my reset I knit. I knit and knit and knit. I worked on my shawl and on my  socks. I worked on my mitten project. I figured out a way to get my afghan finished. I even brainstormed some graphic design projects (although that didn’t last long as a surprise last minute rush project came up). I kept busy.

My only problem with this equation, I have been knitting on the same projects for ages. You are all probably sick of seeing the same things lingering on the needles for weeks or months. I am too. So the plan? I want to finish knitting my Lionberry. I am so close (on row 85 of around 95ish). Then I want to work on my Splitstone a bit and feel free to cast on a new project. The issue? I don’t know what to cast on next. Any suggestions? Let’s get this blog back to being a place you can go for fresh content. I want to get these projects done!

~Stay Inpsired

Christmas Knitting…Already?

Christmas Knitting: Wooly Mastadon

Yes, it is true. I have started my Christmas knitting. Spoiler to any family members that read this. Every year my Mother and I team up to make some kind of home-made gift in a basket with some small utensils or gifts. Often Mom makes a homemade mix of some kind (last year it was oatmeal) and I add the hand-knits (last year’s projects here and here). If I think of it, I like to start the projects early so that I can make a more indepth project and take my time to do the best I can. This year I chose knitted mitten ornaments. They are really cute and I am excited to see them on the final gift. The pattern is really easy to follow and memorize if you like to do that. I condensed it down onto a 3*5 card so I could bring the project to work. My favorite part about this project, it is a great stash-buster. I will not have to purchase a single skein of yarn to finish this, especially for the striped mittens. The color combinations are endless. We shall see how far I get, I am only on the second pair of at least 15. Anyway, I have a few months don’t I?

~Stay Inspired

More Adventures with the Dyepot

Dyeing Fiber: Wooly Mastadon

Oh dear, yet another week has gone by and I was not present. It was a lovely week. I took two days off work (well, my two days that I get off per week) and went to visit my Grandmother before summer slipped away. She lives by a lake (I’ve mentioned her before) and I must say that so many summery things were crammed into those two days….and I didn’t take a single picture. I know, I know, I’m a horrible blogger. I brought along my camera but I guess just being in the moment has been more important to me this summer. I don’t know why, or maybe I do, but I also miss this space so I thought I’d share something fun, some inspiration for the new week perhaps?

Dyeing Fiber: Wooly Mastadon

I have been spinning a lot. I also don’t have a large fiber stash. These two variables brought me to realize that I needed to dye the two braids of fiber that have been sitting in my stash, waiting to be made colorful and ready to use. I had the time so I dyed up the fiber (stash pages here and here). Similar to my adventures in dying yarn, I only use food coloring, kool-aid, icing colors, and other food safe colorings so that it is safe to dye them in my kitchen, but I have yet to be dissappointed with my results.

I was lucky and my fiber didn’t felt that much. The process was simple, and easy to do…I didn’t freak out too much worrying about felting everything. I like the colors and am ready to dye more fiber (hmm, that means I need to buy more). Time to spin it up and knit something awesome. Are you interested in dying yarn and fiber? Do share.

~Stay Inspired