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

 

Hold Onto What Matters…

When Its Unclear: Wooly Mastadon

In the past few weeks it has been a roller-coaster. I don’t like putting life updates here, this place is for the purpose of sharing projects, creativity, inspiration. Yet sometimes life just has to come to the forefront, needs to be seen. No matter how much you try to hide what is happening it shines through. It shines through here and elsewhere in my silence. Now, there have been some really good moments but there have been a lot of really hard moments too. It was to the point that all I wanted to do was run and hide from everything. Thankfully I have a really amazing person in my life who helped me get out of that but sometimes things hit you hard. One thing that I have shared on and off here was my Mom’s battle and defeat of cancer. Two months ago my family learned that that cancer had returned, and with a vengeance. She’s getting treatment and doctors seem pretty positive but it hit everyone hard, when something terrible was over…at least you thought it was, only to come back.

This was just one example of the downs that have hit these past few months. I lost track of what mattered and let things get to me. I let work drama creep into my time away from work and eat away at what was left of me. I gave up on knitting and reading, and really creating for a while. The only thing I really had to show for a span of time were some nature photographs from mini day trips to go escape for a while. I think somewhere in the mess that was my brain it knew the only way to get me out of my funk was to get me out of the house.

So I got out of the house. Some of my best friends came up to visit. I went on day trips, I took photos, and I worked. For whatever reason, possibly because some of the troubles are slowly being resolved, things are getting better. I have someone in my life who is constantly reminding me not to lose sight of my goals, and that it is always worth working toward the things that you find important.

What's Out There: Wooly Mastadon

And so in the past week I have made an effort to get back into the small things I love to do, the creative things that keep me going. I started designing some knitwear and brainstormed some big ideas. These big ideas reminded me that I still someday want to be a graphic designer at a knitwear magazine, or something like that. I want to move on and do the things I love for a living. And I have to work toward that, not give up, if I want to accomplish it.

Life isn’t always happy, it isn’t the perfectly edited photo posted to Instagram or the short witty post to Facebook. It isn’t the properly edited blog post filtered to make your life look perfect. Life has ups and downs, and sometimes the downs feel impossible to handle. It is possible, it will get better. You just have to hold onto what matters.

Hold onto what matters…it keeps you going when nothing else will.

I’ll be back, with projects, hopefully very soon. Thanks for listening.

~Stay Inspired

 

Another Weekday Adventure

Copper Harbor Adventures: Wooly Mastadon

With my work, I don’t have a normal repeating schedule. I don’t often get weekends, and my days off get shifted throughout the week all the time. However, it also means I can take Monday and Tuesday off without batting an eye. This week was the perfect reason to do that. A few of my friends made the trek to come visit me those days and of course we had to go on an adventure. Copper Harbor was a must.

Copper Harbor Adventures: Wooly Mastadon

You know what’s coming, photo overload. Regardless, I had such a wonderful time I absolutely had to share.

Copper Harbor Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventures: Wooly Mastadon

Hope your week was amazing and that your weekend is even better. Go out and explore!

~Stay Inspired

Yarn Haul Shenanigans: A Knit Picks Order

Knit Picks Yarn Haul: Wooly Mastadon

After breaking my unintentional yarn diet this spring I for whatever reason have been able to relatively behave. That being said, I’ve wanted to make a Knit Picks order for a few months but kept putting it off. Finally this past week I caved and ordered a few things I wanted to get plus a few extras…oops. Every time a box of yarn comes in the mail it feels like Christmas and it was no different this time. Here’s what I got.

Knit Picks Yarn Haul: Wooly Mastadon

To start, I’ll get the boring items out of the way first. My real reason for making an order was that I needed some more circular needles for socks. I have one set of US size 1 (2.25mm) circular needles in the 32 inch cable size. This is the only size I use for socks as it fits my knitting style and gauge best. Thus I knew I wanted to get a backup and another set just in case I wanted to have two pairs of socks or another project on the needles at the same time. The other item was some Bare Stroll Fingering (462 yds, 100g). My last adventure with the dye pot was so much fun and I used this yarn. The thing is, I’ve knit up one skein into a shawl and have the other two in the works on a current shawl project. I need to dye more so four skeins came home to be dyed and knit into wonderful shawls or other projects in the near future.

Knit Picks Yarn Haul: Wooly Mastadon

But you want to know about the cover photo to this post don’t you? Well, that’s the extra yarn that just might have hopped into my basked. It is some of Knit Picks Felici. The colors they come out with are always amazing and I have knit up some from a long time ago but never was able to snag some of the new colorways. Thus two skeins each (50g balls) of Dark Side (the black + rainbow) and Sprinkles (the pastel colorway) just had to be mine. These are destined to be socks and I can’t wait to cast them on.

Well, that’s enough rambling for now. I’ve been keeping busy with a few projects including spinning, my socks, and of course my Waiting for Rain¬†shawl (which I finally started, more to come on that soon). Here’s to hoping your weekend is amazing and not too hot.

~Stay Inspired

And Yet Another Year Flies By…

Wooly Mastadon Turns 2!

It’s been another year and Wooly Mastadon is now two years old! Granted this year hasn’t been a banner year for consistency but the fact that it is still here is a good sign. I love this little piece of the interwebs and hope to keep it going for as long as I can. I had lofty goals to create something awesome to share here today, something useful like a tutorial or printable, but I was utterly stumped. I just didn’t know what fit, and I wanted it to be just right. Thus, I’m taking suggestions…what should I do next. I want to create something, whether it be a printable, a background you can use on your computer, or even a tutorial or pattern. What shall it be?

With that I leave you. Its been a crazy two years, and this also marks just over two years out of college (yeesh!, but I won’t go down that rabbit hole). There have been ups and downs, and this little space is still here. Here’s to another, hopefully more productive, year! Thanks for sticking around.

~Stay Inspired

TDF Spinning Fail

TDF2016: Wooly Mastadon

It’s TDF…and I somehow missed the memo. I knew it was coming, and had planned to spin like crazy to finish up the fiber I am spinning up for a shawl for my Mom. I had plans…and then I missed the first day of TDF. I didn’t realize til late that night that it had started. With only one day lost, I continued on. Despite going out of town shortly after it started, I dutifully brought along my drop spindle and spun for a bit every day I was gone. Once I got home…I stopped. For whatever reason TDF this year is just not happening for me and since getting my wheel two years ago I’ve participated, newby or not. It’s sad that I’ve missed this much, but perhaps I’ll catch up…or not.

TDF2016: Wooly Mastadon

But this year I’ve decided that’s okay. I may not be spinning a whole lot, I may not be reaching lofty goals, and I may not even touch the wheel for a few days in a row during TDF but it needs to be that way. When it rains it pours and life seems to do that lately. TDF was a self-obligation and instead of enjoying it I was starting to worry about it. Thus I have resolved to this: I will spin when I can during TDF, not participating on any teams. Once TDF is over and things have evened out briefly in life, I’ll give myself my own challenge to spin a certain amount of fiber in a specific time. I really do enjoy the challenge TDF presents and just how much yarn I can spin when I push myself. It just clearly can’t be now.

I think that’s a plan. I really want to finish the fiber on my wheel so I can knit up an amazing shawl for my Mom. Let’s do this. Until next time, Happy Weekend.

~Stay Inspired

 

Another Adventure…

Eagle River Nature: Wooly Mastadon

You may be sick of nature photos, but that won’t stop me from sharing them. Once again I have been out and about, taking photos of the things I love best. I spent some quality time (the longest amount of time I’ve been able to take off for myself in over a year) at my Grandma’s house once again. The fact that she lives in the woods by a lake, even better. For a wonderful summer refresher I thought I’d share some of the photos from this trip.

Eagle River Nature: Wooly Mastadon

Fair warning, there are a few silly ones including a pink elephant. Long story but it was a gift and I thought it would be funny to share some photos of my pink elephant having fun in the woods. It works.

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

And one final thing, Happy 4th of July to all of you who live in the states. For everyone else, Happy Weekend.

~Stay Inspired

 

A Mini Project…Perhaps

Bluebird of Happiness: Wooly Mastadon

So, a few weeks ago I was sitting in my parent’s living room talking to my Mom about…gulp…what I was going to knit/crochet as Christmas gifts this year. Most years I start a lot earlier than I did this last year, or at least start and make some decent progress if not finish the items before September. After last years nightmare of Christmas knitting I knew what I made had to be easier, smaller, and something I wouldn’t lose interest on after the second piece. Thus, I decided to hop on the bandwagon and knit the Bluebird of Happiness by Sara Elizabeth Kellner. So many people have knit it out of varying weights of yarn and loved it so I thought why not. Can I just say I’m hooked. My first bird didn’t turn out quite as amazing as I’d hoped (I think I overstuffed it) but I have finally started a second and have stash yarn picked out to knit the 15 more I will need to complete my little gifts.

Bluebird of Happiness: Wooly Mastadon

Have you knit this pattern before? I’m using worsted weight yarn and I like the results but am thinking of knitting some out of sock yarn too. Any suggestions would be amazing. Am I the only one planning ahead for Christmas knitting? Who knows. Anyway, it’s Wednesday, we’re half way there!

~Stay Inspired