Mini Vacation Yarn Haul

Mini Yarn Haul: Wooly Mastadon

This past weekend my husband and I managed to slip away from the crazy and take a four day weekend. In combination with some errands getting away from the crazy was much needed and so worth it. Being able to visit Grandma and our favorite place on Earth made it even better. Some much needed lake time was involved and lots of fresh air. Of course, I can’t take a trip to Eagle River, WI without heading to St. Germain and stopping at Just Yarnin’. Knowing my love for yarn my husband obliged and we headed to the yarn store.

I was pleased to find that Just Yarnin’ had some amazing dyers in stock that I have wanted to try for a long time, so I did some damage…pure wool piggery. It’s okay though, because while I was a kid in the candy store grinning like a cheshire cat, the shop dog (so cute and friendly!) parked by my husband and kept him occupied! Here’s what I got:

Knitted Wit: Wooly Mastadon

It seems I can’t leave this yarn store without some Knitted Wit yarn (I still haven’t used the skein I bought last year…it’s so beautiful so I want to find the perfect project for it). This time around I got two skeins, both in the single fingering, one in the Hawaii Volcanos colorway and one in the Autumn Rainbow colorway.

Dream in Color: Wooly Mastadon

Next up is a yarn I’ve wanted to try for a long time: Dream in Color. I got one skein of her Jilly base in the POP UP! Skein Club August 2017 colorway. I love the colors and how soft this yarn is.

Three Irish Girls: Wooly Mastadon

Finally I got one skein of Three Irish Girls in the Adorn Luxe base in the Baby I’m a Star colorway. I cannot wait to try this as it is yet another dyer I’ve wanted to try yarn from for a long time!

We’ll see what I knit up with these yarns. They are all so beautiful and soft. Shawls anyone? As for Just Yarnin’ I must say I love this yarn store and the yarns, notions, kits, and help they have to offer. If they were closer to home I’d definitely join in on their knit alongs and classes. If you are in the St. Germain area check it out, it is an awesome LYS! Before I sign off for the day I need suggestions…especially shawl pattern suggestions! Let me know what has been catching your eye on Ravelry (I’m lilwestie there)!

~Stay Inspired

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FO: Vernal Equinox Shawl

Vernal Equinox for Mom: Wooly MastadonAs I promised here is my first FO to share since disappearing in August. After I completed my Waiting for Rain Shawl I knew I had to cast on another right away. I also sensed that Mom was fading and perhaps wouldn’t have a lot of time. Thus I cast on the shawl she chose: Vernal Equinox Shawl Surprise by Lankakomero. It is a free pattern on Ravelry and absolutely gorgeous. Mom and I sat down together to pick this pattern out and she fell in love with it immediately. I knew I could complete it but it was a bit of a daunting task as it is the largest shawl I’ve ever knit and the most detailed. Ready for a challenge I cast on (see my Rav project page for more info).Vernal Equinox for Mom: Wooly MastadonThis shawl was knit in my own handspun yarn, a lace weight two ply. The fiber was dyed by Camelot Dyeworks and was what I believe is a merino nylon blend (I have no idea where the tag is and Ravelry notes are lacking at the moment). Knit on size 7 needles the project was a breeze. By far this was the fastest shawl I’ve ever knit, being completed in just over 3 months (I know I knit slow, or really I get distracted and go work on 8 million other things in between). Although quite detailed, the pattern and lace were intuitive and easy to follow. The result is stunning.Vernal Equinox for Mom: Wooly MastadonUpon presenting this shawl to my Mom she absolutely loved it, and to my surprise and joy agreed to a photo shoot in front of our church’s Christmas tree (and probably the nicest tree we’ve ever had I must say!). At the time I was elated that she wanted photos and was so proud that she loved her shawl so much that she agreed to capture the moment in photos.Vernal Equinox for Mom: Wooly MastadonAs I look back I realize this is more than just a shawl, it is a blessing. My Mom hated getting photos taken, and right til the end most photos were forced so having these photos with true smiles and family are a treasure I will always hold close among the few photos I have of my Mom. Her shawl was given back to me; my Dad thought I needed a proper hug from her and what better way than to wear her shawl when I miss her. I wore it at her funeral and have worn it many times since then and with each stitch and fiber there is love. This shawl is not only what I hope will become a family heirloom but also a hug from my Mom when I need it most.

I’ll be back soon with our wedding story and some photos (and a wedding shawl!). Until then…

~Stay Inspired

Life Lately: Joy and Sadness

Mom and Me

It’s been a while, to say the least. Sometimes you have plans to do amazing things, and are forced to take a step back. In the months following my last post so many things happened. My now husband and I were planning a wedding and being the person I am, I ended up making a lot of things by hand. While we were planning and making Mom’s cancer progressed farther and faster than any of us could expect.

Christmas was amazing, one that I will remember forever. My Mom and I went all out and made the house a winter wonderland and baked far too many cookies than any of us could reasonably eat (but we did….yeah). We celebrated and enjoyed one last Christmas together. Then with the new year, Mom’s cancer got far more aggressive. She became house bound, and her chemo treatments were weekly with more visits to the doctor for side effects from the chemo. Her health slipped.

Mom made sure that when she did have energy she was helping us plan our wedding, talking about projects and cooking, and caring so much about us all. But her time was less and less. The day after Mother’s Day Mom went home to heaven. Her funeral was that following Friday. It was bittersweet. We got to see family a few weeks earlier than planned.

Less than a month later was the wedding, a celebration that both my husband and I will remember forever (I’ll share more details soon). It was perfect. Everyone says one detail of the wedding will go wrong and seriously wrong. We didn’t have that. Everything went smoothly and was amazing. My Dad walked me down the isle and did our wedding service. Our only sad part to our day was missing Mom, but she was rejoicing from heaven.Mom's Shawl: Wooly MastadonWhat does this have to do with Wooly Mastadon? I’m not sure yet. What I do know is that right now the loss of my Mom is setting in. I didn’t have a chance to grieve. Now that I have a bit more time, the realization is hitting and hard: she’s gone. My husband has been truly supportive through all this but even he knows that sometimes the only way to heal is time, and doing something you love. For most of 2018 I did not create much of anything. I was a caregiver for my Mom and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but to properly work through her passing I think it only makes sense to start creating once again. My Mom was my partner in crime when it came to art/crafts/creating. I bounced all my ideas off her, asked her for advice, and just shared in the experience of creating. Although I will never replace my Mom perhaps you can now be my outlet. Let’s create a community and share. Let’s heal together.

P.S. The shawl in the first photo is one that I knit in only a few months, the shortest amount of time it has ever taken for me to knit a shawl. It was for Mom and I finished it in time for her to have it to wear for Christmas. I’ll share more on this later on as well as wedding fun!

~Stay Inspired

FO: Waiting for Rain!!!

Waiting for Rain: Wooly Mastadon

I can’t believe it…this shawl is finally done. It only took over a year to complete, but this shawl was completely worth it. The pattern is Waiting For Rain by Sylvia McFadden and it is such a fun knit. The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Fingering in Bare that I dyed myself with food coloring knit on US size 6 (4.00 mm) needles.

Waiting for Rain: Wooly Mastadon

This shawl was truly a dream to knit. The lace rows are intuitive and the garter breaks in between were perfect for TV (podcast) knitting. Can I also mention that this shawl is big! I’m used to one skein shawl projects so using all but a few yards of each color meant I have a snuggly shawl for the fall winter and spring seasons…or chilly summer evenings.

Waiting for Rain: Wooly Mastadon

While I’m at it, as you may have noticed in my picture, life has been pretty exciting lately. Saturday evening the love of my life asked me to marry him and I said yes! Thus I may share some of the things I diy in the coming months for a…gasp…wedding. Don’t worry, this place will still first and foremost be for my fiber adventures, but a few things here and there might get slipped in the mix. First on the list (and literally first, nothing is set and I’m already planning this) is a shawl for the big day. I’ll share my plan in the coming weeks…once the yarn I ordered comes in…and yes I already ordered yarn for a shawl. Good things to come and more knits to share!

~Stay Inspired

 

FO: Socks!

Sock FOs: Wooly Mastadon

As you may have gotten from the title, I have some finished pairs of socks to share with you today. Not being quite prepared I didn’t share them as quickly as I had hoped and dived right into a mini four day vacation with my family and boyfriend. Vacations by the lake are amazing, vacations by the lake at your Grandmother’s house are even better. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I didn’t take photos this time as I was thoroughly enjoying the sunny weather, and for you that meant no blog post to show off my socks. Well here it is!

The first pair (rav link) I finished actually just before my WIPs roundup post went up. I knit these out of Cascade Yarns Heritage Wave in the Solar colorway on US 1 (2.25mm) dpns. It was an enjoyable experience and the way the color plays on the socks is so cool. I don’t have any socks on the red side of the color wheel so they fill the void nicely.

Sock FOs: Wooly Mastadon

The other pair of socks I finished are these stripey beauts (rav link). I knit these magic loop (my ususal) out of Knit Picks Felici Fingering in the Sprinkles colorway. These were so much fun to knit as I always wanted to knit ‘one more stripe’. I may need to cast on my other skeins of Felici soon.

Well, there you have it, two new pairs of socks ready and waiting for fall. This year I’m on the fence, do I want fall to begin yet or not? The pull of wearing warm woolly handknits again is certainly getting stronger. I guess I’ll take what I can get!

~Stay Inspired

 

Pure Wool Piggery…9 Months Worth

Yarn Swift: Wooly Mastadon

Yes, this post is as it states, a show of wool piggery in its purest form. In my defense some of this I got for Christmas 2016 and the rest was acquired throughout the rest of 2017 thus far. There is a lot of Knit Picks here and I also went to a new and amazing yarn shop, Just Yarnin’ (review to follow in a few weeks!). I don’t have all the yarn shown here (some is in my scrap ghan and some is who knows where but from brands like Lion Brand and Red Heart designated for projects for my family and boyfriend). Without further ado, the yarn parade!

First of all I bought a yarn swift!!!!! The best picture I have is of the swift and yarn above but man was I excited to get this. The swift is from Knit Picks but I have know they have amazing customer service and it is perfect for my needs. It actually came two weeks ago and the day it came I was parading it around the house like a weirdo but I have no shame admitting it!

Knit Picks Yarn: Wooly Mastadon

Left to right: Knit Picks Stroll Fingering in Renaissance, Knit Picks Chroma Twist Fingering in Manzanita, Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering in Montavilla

This gorgeous yarn was a Christmas gift from my amazing parents. I hit up Knit Picks Cyber Monday sales and got this yarn and waited not so patiently to unwrap it on Christmas Eve.

Knit Picks Yarn: Wooly Mastadon

Left to right: Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering in Wilshire, Knit Picks Stroll Fingering in Deep Waters

I also snagged this yarn on the Cyber Monday sale. These are designated for shawls…I just have to decide on patterns…

Yarn Haul: Wooly Mastadon

Left to right: Araucania Yarns Huasco in 47 Porto Martini, Araucania Yarns Huasco in Laguna Beach

This summer I was able to finally visit an amazing yarn shop, Just Yarnin’ in St Germain, WI, only about 25 minutes away from my Grandma’s house. I picked up a ton of yarn (thanks mom for buying me a skein too!). I absolutely have to to back, and am so happy its at least ‘local’ to me in the sense that I visit my Grandma a lot!

Yarn Haul: Wooly Mastadon

Left to right: Wonderland Yarns Cheshire Cat in Bee Yourself, Knitted Wit Single Fingering in Enchanted Forest

Might I add that this shop carries Wonderland Yarns!!! So excited for this one. The Knitted Wit caught my eye and one of the women in the shop was knitting it up into a project. It looked stunning so I couldn’t pass it up.

Yarn Haul: Wooly Mastadon

Left to right: Red Heart Heart and Sole in Sorbeto, Red Heart Heart and Sole in Lakehouse

That same trip but another day we ended up heading to another town to shop and Hobby Lobby had these on clearance…Hello socks!

Knit Picks Yarn: Wooly Mastadon

Left to right (note all are Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering): Compass Kettle Dye, Confetti Speckle, Turkish Delight Kettle Dye, Graffiti Speckle, Poseidon Kettle Dye, Aquatic Kettle Dye, Blackbird Kettle Dye, Cosmic Speckle

You may recognize this yarn from the box image at the head of this post. Yes I did buy this all at once. This amazing selection of glory is a Hawthorn sampler pack and I have no regrets. Find Your Fade anyone?

Notions Haul: Wooly Mastadon

On to the notions. At Hobby Lobby I picked up some needles and scissors for a few small projects. The big deal are the Addi Turbo Sock Rockets! I got these at Just Yarnin’ and I am beyond excited to try them out ASAP!

Just Yarnin: Wooly Mastadon

Finally, the amazing shop owner of Just Yarnin’ added these lovely notions to my bag with my yarn purchase. I must say their logo is amazing (my inner graphic designer is happy!). Definitely check them out if you are ever in the area!

Phew, that’s a lot of yarn. Let’s be honest though, I regret nothing! I know I’m an addict. Now I need to knit it up…pattern suggestions welcome! Have an amazing week!

~Stay Inspired

Currently Knitting

Waiting for Rain: Wooly Mastadon

As promised today I’m stopping by to share my current projects with you, or my WIPs. I think I’ll start in the order that they were cast on or oldest to newest. I would also like to add that some of these have been sitting, but my knitting mojo…my creative mojo…is back so these should all be completed soon to make room for more new projects. My habit of browsing Ravelry for new patterns has also returned and I want to knit all of the things. I’m also open for suggestions. Okay, on to the knits:

Waiting for Rain: Wooly Mastadon

My oldest WIP for the moment (that isn’t in hibernation) is currently my Waiting for Rain by Sylvia McFadden. For a while everyone was knitting this and I couldn’t be left behind. Then in good ol’ Tori fashion, I let the project sit because I was convinced I had to be 100% focused on the project. Not so! The garter sections are a great break from the lace panels and even those are a joy to knit and make perfect sense. Now I can’t seem to put it down and can’t wait to have the finished product in my hands.

The specs: (Rav Link)  yarn, Knit Picks Stroll Fingering hand-dyed by me ; needles US size 6 4.0mm

Scrap Ghan: Wooly Mastadon

Next up, my Granny Scrap Ghan. I gave up on my last afghan project and put it into hibernation months ago, but kept getting the itch to work on another one. Thus, I decided on one big granny square as it is currently the only type of afghan I enjoy making. I love this project although it has been getting less love during the hot summer weather.

The specs: (Rav Link) Red Heart Super Saver in various colors (using up scraps); hook US size H/8 5.0mm

Socks: Wooly Mastadon

Socks: Wooly Mastadon

On to the socks! I will bundle these two projects together to a point. I knit all my socks toe-up with an afterthought heal (with the placed waste yarn so not a true afterthought heal, I know) on US size 1, 2.25mm needles. The only difference between these two pairs is one is knit magic loop method on what I believe is a 32 inch cord (my preferred method for my travel project socks) and the other is knit on dpns. I tried Knitters Pride Karbonz for the first time and I love them! The stitches don’t slide off the needles and they are light weight. In fact those socks on dpns…they’re finished as of Friday! Yay for a new FO. I’ll share some photos later this week.

The specs: (Rav Link) DPNs: Cascade Yarns Heritage Wave in Solar; needles Knitters Pride Karbonz US size 1, 2.25mm

(Rav Link) Circs: Knit Picks Felici Fingering in Sprinkles; needles Knit Picks Fixed Circulars US size 1, 2.25mm

Dishcloth: Wooly Mastadon

Dishcloths, oh dishcloths. When my Mom asks me for something like this I can’t say no. Thus I pulled out some leftover cotton from a box of yarn from my Aunt and got to work. The pattern is from an old knitting book that I adapted to fit my needs and it is her favorite dishcloth by far. It’s a simple project and a quick knit during the summer heat.

The specs: (Rav Link) Misc Scrap Cotton; needles Hobby Lobby (no idea the exact brand) fixed circs in size US 6 4.0mm

Well, that’s it. This is what I’m currently working on. As many of these projects are close to completion I’m looking for my next project. What should I knit next?

~Stay Inspired

 

Let’s Catch Up

I thought it would be fitting to fill in some gaps since my last spree of posting in November and now. I didn’t finish a lot, and nothing earth-shattering happened, but here’s what I did get completed below.

Before we begin I have two notes. One, please note that on this post due to the fact that these are old FOs I am only including a Ravelry link to each item instead of detailing yarn, needle size, etc. For future posts on current projects I’ll give you the full specs. Second, if you are curious about my current projects you can either be patient and I’ll be putting up a post soon with my current projects and details or, if you don’t want to wait you can follow me on Instagram as that is where I post the most (@victoriaschwanke), about creativity and my life. Okay, lets get on with the FOs.

Socks, socks, socks. Its about all I had the brain-space for. My favorite saying over the past month has been ‘too much data, not enough brain waves”…that sums up my life for the past months.

Rav Links: top right, top left, bottom right, bottom left

Dog Sweaters: I got into a kick where I needed to knit the puppies in my life sweaters. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of my Grandma’s dog in his sweater but perhaps this winter…

Puppy Sweaters: Wooly Mastadon

Rav Links: left, right

Small Projects: Well, if you count each single item. The what seemed like eight million bluebirds of happiness were indeed done in time for Christmas gifts with even a few to spare. The hearts were a random endeavor for work (yes I knit a few for work…case in point in last photo).

Hearts and Birds: Wooly Mastadon

bones: Wooly Mastadon

Rav Links: left, right

Big Projects: First and foremost I finished spinning my Mom’s yarn to knit a shawl and its beautiful. Stay tuned as my next shawl project will be knit out of this. I also finished a re-knit of a hat pattern I designed several years ago. I am hoping to get my act together and release this as a free pattern soon.

Big Projects: Wooly Mastadon

Rav Links: main, right corner

Well, that’s about it except for perhaps a few small things here or there. I did keep busy but mostly I was dealing with life. You can reference my last post before dormancy to know more. Perhaps I’ll go into things in more detail in future, maybe not, but I have so many ideas for this space once again. Its so good to be back!

~Stay Inspired

 

The Discovery Project

Wooly Mastadon: The Discovery Project

It’s been three years as of today…three years since Wooly Mastadon’s creation…well, the blog that is. This blog has been through periods of flourishes of activity, and periods of dormancy, but honestly, those periods of dormancy are the periods when I’m not happy. Those periods mean I really am not making much, not sharing my ideas with you, not furthering my creativity. I need to change this…if you stick with me through this post you’re a rock star. Here’s the thing, I think I have found a way to get back into my creative lifestyle….here it goes.

Over the past few evenings I decided to go back to a small sketchbook that I keep, mostly for knitting ideas. The last few used pages are far from that, no images, no sketches…just lots and lots of words. These are my thoughts that I wrote back in April about a personal project. At the time I didn’t know how big or small it would be, perhaps just a few small pieces, or perhaps something huge.

And then I let it sit…

I read them once again last night and realized that the main things I wanted to accomplish were these:

  • create tactile work (fiber related or otherwise)
  • design more (graphic design)
  • really start building my photography skills
  • write, write more, write often

I wrote this list several months ago not sure where it would go not, sure if I’d care when I looked back on it. Instead it resonated with me, to the point that it made me reflect on how I use my time and reconsider what I thought was important. The project? Well, in my sketchbook it was labeled “The Discovery Project”. Its purpose as I dutifully labeled it was to find where I truly belong in the art and design world, find my niche or at least find something that resonates with me.

It’s finally time to get this started. Over the past several months I have been absent from this place I have been struggling with the fact that I am not truly happy with my day job. I feel empty when I come home and lost as to where to start. I also started to realize that what had always grounded me before were the personal projects that I did to stay active in the creative realm…and I had lost those over time. It’s time to bring those back. I don’t know what they will be; if they will be a cohesive body of work or rather small fragments, similar to what has been left of my creative lifestyle. I don’t know how often I’ll have things to share, or how thought out they will be…but I will be sharing them.

I hope this is the beginning of something amazing, something that will not only help me find my creative purpose but also perhaps inspire others to do so as well.

~Stay Inspired

Refocus, Revise, Relearn, Remember…

Life Lately: Wooly Mastadon

Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, months turn into years…time just keeps going whether we are prepared to keep pace with it or not. Life happens, things change, for the good and the bad, and we work through it. Its been a few months since I last shared something with you all, promising to be back soon, promising to share projects and keep things alive. Promising what I didn’t know at the time would be something I just couldn’t follow through with.

No, I’m not going to vow to share something with you every Friday from now on, and I’m not going to say I need to take a break and see you next year. I’m just going to say this, I’ve learned in the past few months that in my life I have to focus on what matters, and I’ve also learned that I am putting my energy into too many outlets. I have spent most of my time frazzled or stressed, and am learning that sometimes I just have to let things go. I did this with Wooly Mastadon unintentionally. I’m realizing why now.

Wooly Mastadon is my place, its something I care about and something I hope to see grow as I slowly work towards a career in a creative field. It’s also something I don’t want to ruin by publishing content for the sake of publishing. My heart wasn’t in it so instead of forcing to post I let it slide, for months. I’m realizing now that perhaps it was the smartest thing I could do. I need to refocus, revise, relearn and remember what matters.

Life happens, and between the health struggles in my family (the bad) and realizing that it is amazing to let someone¬†new into my life (the good), I’ve been scattered while adjusting to life as it comes. I’ve haphazardly kept up with my volunteer time at my local community arts center, I’ve put together last minute text for a letterpress project, I’ve worked at my full time day job far more than I’d like to admit, and I’m tired.

So much of what I’ve been doing has been for good reasons, but it means I’m not on here sharing. My goals have not changed, but my route to getting there has. I’m still here, the voice of Wooly Mastadon. I still have things to share, projects, designs, thoughts, photography. I will share it in my time. With that I leave you til I post next. Focus on what matters. Thanks for listening.

~Stay Inspired