New Cast On: Underwing Mitts

Underwing Mitts: Wooly Mastadon

This past week I was digging through all of my hand-knits looking for my one elusive pair of hand mitts knit out of sock yarn years ago. My search ended up failing (who knows where they landed after the move this year!) and with that I knew I had to knit a new pair as we are heading full-steam ahead into fall and eventually winter! (Spoiler alert I did find the mitts at my Dads…oops.)

Underwing Mitts Cast On: Wooly Mastadon

This fall I have also been thinking about how I haven’t grown much as a knitter in recent years. I’ve been stagnant, only knitting what I know and not growing my skills. I decided to address two things that I want to learn and go ahead and gain the skills to tackle such projects. The two topics I want to tackle: colorwork (especially stranded) and brioche.

Thus, what was I supposed to do but immediately go on Ravelry and search for a mitt pattern that uses two color stranded colorwork. Truth be told I am horribly behind on podcasts (almost a year) but earlier that day I had been watching the Brooklyn Knitfolk Podcast and Jaclyn was talking about her most recent FO, the Underwing Mitts by Erica Heusser…I was sold. I purchased the pattern, found the yarn, and boldly cast on.

Underwing Mitts: Wooly Mastadon

I must say I love it!!! Granted this is purposely only a two color project but it is so addicting and makes me want to find projects with more colors. My gauge is starting to even out and I have caught myself knitting far too late in the evening as I keep telling myself “just one more row.” Now I want to start all of the colorwork projects. I think I have found my newest knitting obsession and it feels so good to know I’m learning more about my craft again. With that, do you have any good colorwork pattern suggestions?

~Stay Inspired

Autumn is My Favorite

Fall Wreath: Wooly Mastadon

People wonder why I get so excited as soon as September rolls around and the days of summer heat slowly get taken over with cooler weather. The leaves begin to change, the ferns yellow, and the goldenrod withers. But with all this change comes the cozy evenings snuggled under a blanket with a big mug of hot tea. Stacks of books sit proudly on the coffee table and bedside tables begging to be read. Knitting on the couch with a good knitting podcast on the TV is always the answer to an evening in.

Fall Reading: Wooly Mastadon

This year has the added benefit of being able to share my favorite season with my husband. Granted, he does not enjoy knitting or the podcasts that I watch far too often, but we trade off TV time (for him it’s football) and being together is what matters. Its a season of comfort and love, of change, and of sharing the simple moments. It’s evenings after work spent on the couch, or visiting family. Its the evening grocery runs that slowly but surely always end up being after dark because the sun starts to hide its face earlier and earlier. It’s the promise of my favorite holidays and both my and my husband’s birthdays.

Fall Wreath: Wooly Mastadon

And it is remembering Mom. This was my Mom’s favorite season too, and this year above all others I want to put a little of her into everything I do. I want to make sure that this fall and every one after is one that she would be happy with knowing I spent the time doing things I love and some that she loved too. We’ll watch Big Fat Greek Wedding (yes, I went there..and I love it!) and we’ll read all of the books. I’ll bake all of the cookies and bars and try to eat healthy in spurts every other week. I’ll listen to Enya and early Christmas music on repeat. I’ll drink all of the tea and cast on far too many projects. I’ll aspire to knit Christmas gifts for everyone and manage to make something small skating into the deadline headfirst but just making it. I’ll go crazy with seasonal decor and spread the joy every chance I get.

It’s fall, and it’s one of the best times of year. I hope that in the season as in all others it brings blessings to all who enjoy it. Stay warm, stay cozy, and share all the joy you can.

~Stay Inspired

P.S. The amazing fall wreath pictured above is by the best florist at Bobbi at Econo Foods in Houghton, MI. If you’re in the market for a wreath of any kind, or any floral design (she did our wedding flowers!!) for that matter and are local please check her out!


Wooly Mastadon Creates Podcast Episode 1

You guys…I did it! It’s finally here, the Wooly Mastadon Creates podcast. For several years now I have dreamed about creating a knitting podcast (video of course) and what better time to start than now! It’s not perfect but it is a work in progress. I missed a few things here and there but I will get better and more familiar with time. Show notes will always be located here on the blog so if you want more detailed info about something make sure to check back here.

I hope you enjoy the very first episode (thanks to my husband for giving me the encouragement I needed to finally start this!). If you enjoy it, please share it with friends! I genuinely hope that I can create a community to share projects and all the things makers enjoy!

Without further ado, show notes for Episode 1:

  • FOs: Toe-up socks
    • Yarn: Knit Picks Felici in the Steamer Trunk colorway
    • Needles: US size 1 (2.25mm)
  • WIPs:
    • Justin’s Socks
      • Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks in the Turquoise Strips colorway
        Premier Yarns Serenity Sock in the Black colorway
      • Needles: US size 1.5 (2.5mm)
    • Sutures by Camille Descoteaux
      • Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Black Walnut and Esoteric colorways
        Manos del Urugua Alegria in the Huarache colorway
      • Needles: US size 6 (4.0mm)
  • Upcoming Cast-ons: Underwing Mitts by Erica Heusser
    • Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in the Black and White colorways
    • Needles: tbd
  • Stash Enhancement
    • Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible by Hitomi Shida and Gayle Roehm
    • Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines and Marah Stets
  • Life Lately
    • Fall is here and other ramblings!

I figured its also a good time to remind you I’m active on Instagram as @victoriaschwanke and at Ravelry as lilwestie.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure!

~Stay Inspired

FO: Yet Another Pair of Socks

Toe Up Socks: Wooly Mastadon

You may be getting sick of the finished socks posts by now, but socks are something I can knit on autopilot. I don’t have to think, and for most of the sock I don’t have to even look at my work. This means I can bring this kind of project with me everywhere and knit in the moments available. This time around I had the added pressure of my husband asking when I was ‘finally’ going to start knitting his socks. I knew if I didn’t finish these socks first they would get set aside and left for a long time so I decided it best to finish these first and did just that.

Toe Up Socks: Wooly Mastadon

These socks were knit just like all my socks in a vanilla toe-up afterthought heal recipe (with placed yarn). It’s my usual recipe, 64 stitches on US size 1 (2.25 mm) needles. The yarn is two skeins of Knit Picks Felici in the Steamer Trunk colorway, which I absolutely love! They are a perfect fall color and now that the weather is switching into full on fall mode, I will get a lot of wear out of these.

Well, I should go knit on my Sutures shawl (I’m so close to finishing it!) or maybe start my husbands socks. Whatever I chose Fall is officially here and with that cozy knitting time! As always…

~Stay Inspired

Fall Cast-on?

It’s that time of year. The number of days below 70 degrees is growing and with it the urge to curl up under an afghan, a good knitting podcast on TV, and a new fall cast-on on the needles. It’s a picture I’ve been dreaming of since mid-summer when the temps rose and our apartment’s average temp was a minimum of 80 degrees. Yet, now as this image slowly comes into reality I have no idea what to cast on. Do I knit a sweater? If so is it a pullover, cardigan, does it have a hood? Is it a huge chunky shawl? Is it simply a hat? Should I really be thinking about Christmas gifts (please no, not yet)?

All these questions have been running through my head and as I browse my queue on Ravelry or just browse the patterns section but I just can’t seem to settle on a pattern. I’ve even dug through my back issues of knitting magazines to no avail. I just want to cast on everything…thus in that case nothing. I freeze.

For over two years I’ve been sitting on 2,200 yards of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted in the Blackberry colorway (purple of course…I can’t avoid it!). The problem: I will not cast a new project on until I find that ‘perfect’ project. I want to use up as much yardage as possible (which isn’t hard since I’m not a small person) but also make something I can live in. When I find something interesting there is always a flaw. I don’t know whats stopping me. Perhaps its the fear I won’t wear what I make…a sweater’s quantity of yarn isn’t exactly cheap. Even then, it shouldn’t stop me, I should plow ahead without worry because if I don’t this yarn will sit in my stash forever.

This is it, this is the year I will finally cast on my sweater! But what to choose. Throughout this post you have seen several options. What do you think I should choose? Do you have a pattern suggestion? What do you do when you don’t know what to knit? Let me know!

~Stay Inspired

WIP Update: Sutures

Sutures WIP: Wooly Mastadon

It’s been a few weeks and it’s about time to check in with my current WIP (work in progress) Sutures. I cast this on in July and have been working on it on and off. I’m still not sure how this color combination will work out but I am enjoying the knit and am starting to like how the colors work out. Originally when I cast this on I was hoping to make a new record with the speed I knit a shawl but it just wasn’t meant to be.

Partially this is because I really want to cast on something else, and I’m torn between a large project like a sweater or a smaller project like a hat…or maybe both. I’ve been spending far too much time browsing Ravelry and my queue has grown quite a bit but I still haven’t settled on a project so perhaps this is a sign I should just finish this shawl first!

Sutures WIP: Wooly Mastadon

The other reason my knitting has been slow is because my husband and I have been getting rid of boxes as we organize our apartment (yes its tiny, and yes we have no excuse to not have this done yet except work). We finally have bookshelves up, can see the floor and I can see my yarn organized on a beautiful Ikea Kallax shelf that we purchased on our honeymoon. It feels so good to have our books on shelves and available to read at any time instead of in boxes and inaccessible.

Having an organized space makes me more than ready for fall. With school starting and Halloween and fall decor everywhere I’m really ready for the cooler, knit-friendly weather. We’ll see when that weather arrives but for now I’ll dream up my next project and a day when I can cuddle under an afghan while knitting, crocheting, or reading. Fall is almost here folks!

~Stay Inspired

Honeymoon Book Haul

Honeymoon Book Haul: Wooly Mastadon

While we were on our honeymoon my husband and I went to a few stores including book stores. We both have a habit of coming home with far more books than we can read and regretting nothing. I however, did the most damage.

Honeymoon Book Haul: Wooly Mastadon

I won’t go into details on every book but here’s what I picked up:

  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas
  • The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
  • The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins
  • The House on the Rock
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill
  • Point Journal

The back story to the Court of Thorns and Roses books is that I was watching a back episode of the Yarngasm Podcast (one of my fave knitting video podcasts, you must check it out), and Kristin mentioned this book as a must read. Since I love the other series by Sarah J Maas I decided I’d pick up the first book and treat myself to a good vacation read. I must say the first book is fantastic and I read around a third of it in one night which is a lot for me as of late. I haven’t finished the first book but I knew I had to pick up the next two when I saw them in the bookstore. If you like books that land in the young adult, fiction, fantasy, mythical genres, you’ll love this book.

Honeymoon Book Haul: Wooly Mastadon

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find has been on my list since Christmas and I hadn’t seen it in stores since…until we were at Target of all places. You may also notice a small journal in the pile. It’s a bullet journal, and yes I hope to eventually delve down this rabbit hole. I love that it can be as complex or simple as you like and you aren’t stuck to one year as it has no dates. My only worry is I will eventually stall out because of forcing myself to make it too complex. Hopefully I can avoid that. The rest of the books just sounded interesting and I love delving into something new that isn’t one of the series I am currently reading or have read.

Honeymoon Book Haul: Wooly Mastadon

Well, that is my honeymoon book haul. This my friends, is why we drive everywhere…books are heavy! What books do you love and think I should pick up next? Are you a book enthusiast (I like that term rather than hoarder…)? Until next time!

~Stay Inspired


Honeymoon Ramblings

Honeymoon: Wooly Mastadon

As you noticed I’ve been gone for over a week. It was 100% worth it as my husband and I finally got the vacation time to take our honeymoon…10 days of work free-bliss. Early on in planning we had decided this trip would be all about family (and in our minds our best friends are family too…of course!). We made a loop leaving our home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, heading to Wisconsin for a few days, then going through Illinois/Indiana to lower Michigan, finally to head over the Mackinac bridge home. It was a lot of driving (with no car a.c….boo) but we made it despite the 80+ degree temps, and hey, we’re Yoopers and that’s hot!

Honeymoon: Wooly Mastadon

The one destination we had planned other than visiting our favorite people was House on the Rock in Spring Green Wisconsin. It is an amazing place and if you ever get the chance GO! The words I would use to describe it just wouldn’t give it justice so check out the link and go see the place for yourself If museums and oddities are your thing, you’ll love it. This was my third time going (first time as an adult…its been about 10 years) but my husband’s first visit and to my delight he absolutely loved it! It was a springboard for creativity and something to remember forever.

However, on this trip it certainly gave me a chance to refocus. In my four+ years working where I do (small town grocery store) I have never taken this much time off, even for our wedding. It was amazing, and a relief from a lot of stress. I checked my phone but no where near as much as I would when I was at home, leaving far more time for chatting, playing board games, learning card games, and just being outside with the best people. I knit, got completely immersed in a book, and shared so many meaningful conversations with my husband. Through it all I realized just how important all these things are to me, and how little time I was actually setting aside for them. Work is work, and I am lucky enough to have a job that I can leave behind at the end of the day, and should do just that rather than drag the drama home with me making my one safe haven not so safe (especially for my poor husband who has to listen to hour long rants).

Honeymoon: Wooly Mastadon

Through all this it solidified what I’ve been learning, well re-learning, this year. Creativity is what makes me thrive, family is what truly matters, and yes, work can be a soul-sucking monster but only if you truly let it. I need to make sure that all the hours spent outside of work are so filled with the good that if the bad tries to drain my happiness I have a reserve overflowing to beat it. Yes, it will not always work. There will be days where I let things drag me down, but as long as I don’t stay there then there is progress.

I’ll be back soon to share some fun things soon (I’m thinking a favorites post is in order, I may or may not have bought way too many books on our honeymoon, all worth sharing!). It’s time to focus on what actually matters!

~Stay Inspired

P.S. Sorry for the crazy pictures, I know they don’t really match the content (they are from one small part of House on the Rock). We went in with good intentions to take so many photos this trip but our cameras stayed in our pockets, and I’m okay with that. We were in the moment with great people and electronics can’t replace that!

New Cast-on: Sutures

Sutures Colors: Wooly Mastadon

Now that things have calmed down and my husband and I are slowly settling into as much of a routine as possible with our impossible work schedules, I am finally able to refocus on my creative projects. As you have noticed, that means I’m back and writing here, and hope to keep it that way! It also means I finished a few things (see my last post) and started a new project.

Colorful Yarn: Wooly Mastadon

This past week I realized just how much I miss and need my creative projects. They ground me, keep me calm, and give me something to think about instead of obsessing over work and the frustrations that life sometimes brings. Immediately I sat down scouring Ravelry for a nice big knitting project, preferably a shawl. I stumbled upon Sutures by Camille Descoteaux, fell in love, and purchased the pattern. Within the half hour I had my entire yarn stash of fingering weight yarn exploded in our bedroom much to the dismay of my husband. Slowly I picked a color palette, with his help, and was on my way. I wound my yarn the evening of 4th of July and was ready to cast on the next day.

Sutures: Wooly Mastadon

For this project (Rav project page here) I am using US size 6 needles (4.0 mm) and three skeins of yarn. Two skeins are Madelinetosh Tosh Merino light, in colorways Black Walnut and Esoteric. The third skein is Manos del Uruguay Alegria in the Huarache colorway. It is a different color combination for me, but for some reason I decided to go with it. If I decided it just isn’t right I can rip back and try again with something else but I feel this may just work out.

We’ll see how it goes but I am loving how this is knitting up thus far. It is a fun knit and I cannot wait to see how the piece slowly works up. I’ll share my thoughts and progress as I get farther into the pattern. Have you seen or knit this pattern before? Let me know!

~Stay Inspired



Another FO Round-up

Crazy Socks: Wooly Mastadon

Despite what my absence here may have suggested I did indeed finish a few projects over the past several months. I kept busy here and there finishing up older projects and starting some new ones. Here’s what I’ve been up to.

Mom's Socks: Wooly Mastadon

Of course I knit socks. I finished two pairs, one for my Mom and one for me. I love socks because I can knit them without thinking which means I always have a pair on the needles or at least yarn for the next pair picked out and ready to cast on. Mom’s pair of socks was knit out of Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering in the Laurelhurst colorway on US size 1 (2.25 mm) needles. My crazy socks were knit out of Plymouth Yarn Neon Now in colorway 2 on US Size 1.5 (2.5mm) needles. Both socks were a dream to knit and perfect for travel projects.

Amigurumi: Wooly Mastadon

I also completed some amigurumi. First to be noted would be Pickett, the bowtruckle from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (which is a fantastic movie if I say so myself and I absolutely cannot wait for the next one…who’s with me?!). He was part of my halloween costume and a popular little guy at work. Moving forward this past month a few more creatures came to life. A small amigurumi hippo flew off my hook as well as a knitted cat. Both are destined to be gifts for expecting moms.

Dad's Hat: Wooly Mastadon

Last but not least, I knit a hat for my Dad. When Knit Picks released the pattern for the Marled Rib Hat by Hannah Maier I wondered if perhaps it was the one, the pattern that would produce a hat my Dad would actually wear. This hat practically knit itself and in a few days I had this hat complete and ready for Dad to try on…and he liked it and requested two more! This is a huge success in my book. This hat was knit out of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport in the Bramble Heather colorway. Fun fact: this is some yarn I have had for years, yarn from my first ever Knit Picks order and one that my Dad actually went yarn shopping online with me for. Perhaps that helped make this hat a winner.

I think that about rounds up my FOs from over the past few months. I may have knit a dishcloth here or there but nothing major to note. What projects do you go to when you need a simple project? Do you have any family members who are tricky to knit for? I want to hear from you!

~Stay Inspired