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

 

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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

Adventures in the Woods (and by the Big Lake)

Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon

As you may (or may not) have noticed I was absent last Friday on the blog. Perhaps you didn’t care, perhaps you did but it was all for a good cause. In the past two weeks I’ve taken my camera for a spin, both close to home (my backyard of course) and a bit farther away in Copper Harbor, Michigan. Nature is my happy place, nature by the water is even better, nature by the water with an amazing friend is the best. Here’s what I’ve been up to (warning…photo dump!).

Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon Copper Harbor Adventure: Wooly Mastadon

Let’s start with Copper Harbor. I finally had a day off that coincided with my friend’s work schedule. He had never been to Copper Harbor before and I went several times every year…any chance I could. It was a cold (45 degrees fahrenheit!) windy day, but neither of us minded. I made sure we hit all of my favorite spots, Brockway Mountain, Fort Wilkins, a park with a cool rock formation you can climb, the works. It was lovely, we both enjoyed it, and had a blast. Of course my camera came along for the journey and he humored all of my crazy just to get the best shot (read he’s terrified of heights and I’m not…yeah, he endured almost heart attacks so I could get the best shot with my camera). It was fun, I came away with so many photos, and the urge to go back again soon. Next time we’ll hit up some beaches and perhaps a lighthouse or two when the weather is warmer.

Backyard Adventures: Wooly Mastadon

My second location, my yard. Granted this isn’t the most grand of places to take photos, I still find joy in crawling around in the woods for the best shot, laying under bushes in the flowerbeds to get the best angle, and just general exploration. Today I topped everything off with planting my mom’s flower beds…perhaps I’ll have to capture some of that with my camera tonight but we shall see.

Backyard Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Backyard Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Backyard Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Backyard Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Backyard Adventures: Wooly Mastadon Backyard Adventures: Wooly Mastadon

Anyway, I do have some projects coming to share with you very soon. Here’s to hoping that the beginning of what might actually be summer is here to stay for a while. Happy Friday!

~Stay Inspired

A Few Weeks In Pictures

January Recap: Wooly Mastadon

I’ve been gone for a while once again. Truth be told I am learning to juggle some new things and not always succeeding but that’s okay because in January of 2016 I was reminded that I not only have an amazing network of friends in different states but I have also made some wonderful friends in my own hometown once again. I have had so much fun at a best friend’s wedding, at a work party that turned out to be amazing, and just with everyday goofiness. It was a pretty good first month of 2016 and if the rest of the year continues this way it’s going to be an amazing one. Since this would be an extremely long post if I explained everything I figured I would just include photos of what I have been up to here. I’ve been knitting and spinning, not near as much as I’d like but it’s a start. I’ve been working on other projects in the letterpress studio. It’s been fun. I’ll be back to share an awesome FO quite soon (still need to take those beautiful photos, haha) so watch for that. It’s the middle of the week, halfway there to the weekend!

January Recap: Wooly Mastadon January Recap: Wooly Mastadon January Recap: Wooly Mastadon January Recap: Wooly Mastadon January Recap: Wooly MastadonJanuary Recap: Wooly MastadonJanuary Recap: Wooly Mastadon

~Stay Inspired

Wow, December 24th

 

 

Christmas with Wooly Mastaond

So, it’s been almost a month. A whole crazy wonderful annoying month. Where did it go. Today is Christmas Eve Day, the day my family celebrates Christmas. Tomorrow is Christmas day. To change things up, I thought I’d recap the month, but just in a few pictures. This year December hasn’t really felt like the holiday season, we hardly had any snow and yesterday it was raining! Still, I spent most of my month working, knitting on mittens (or more like procrastinating knitting on them), and generally running around. I had a birthday the end of November, and that lead to a lot of thinking, and a lot of considering what I want for the future. I turned 24, so that means next year I’ll turn 25…yikes.

Enough chatter, onto the pictures. December is always a cozy time of year, warm, inviting, full of joy. As I prepared for the season I snapped some photos along the way. Enjoy.

Christmas with Wooly Mastaond Christmas with Wooly MastaondChristmas with Wooly Mastaond Christmas with Wooly Mastaond Christmas with Wooly Mastaond Christmas with Wooly Mastaond

~Stay Inspired

 

Thanksgiving Place Cards

Thanksgiving Traditions: Wooly Mastadon

Last week I ended the week sharing my most recent watercolor project (fiasco?). Well the end result was to cut apart the paper and turn that watercolor explosion into Thanksgiving place cards for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. I ended up keeping these really simple but I think they look nice. I wish I would have taken the time to do some fancier handwriting, but alas, these will do fine. What are your Thanksgiving traditions (if you celebrate Thanksgiving). It’s almost here!

Thanksgiving Traditions: Wooly Mastadon

Thanksgiving Traditions: Wooly Mastadon

P.S. Part of our tradition is to include the dogs in the place cards…they’re family right?

~Stay Inspired

Watercolors for Thanksgiving

Watercolors: Wooly Mastadon

Now, by the title you may think I am painting a mural or some amazing Thanksgiving cards or something awesome like that but, alas, watercolors get the best of me. The thing is, I know this going into it so I can let go. Every year I make the place cards for my family’s Thanksgiving get together and dinner. It’s a tradition now as I am the artsy/craftsy grand-kid in the family, and every year my Grandma opens up the drawer with past years cards and shows them to me with pride. I am shocked she has saved them all but I love sharing this memory every year so I keep it going. I had the itch to get out watercolors so this is as far as I got. I decided to splatter/wash/scratch paint all over a piece of poster board for the background. My plan is to cut out place cards from this and then hand letter the names on them afterward. I hope it turns out and I will share them when I am done, but for now I am knee deep in watercolors, Christmas decor (yes I am one of those people), and snow (yay). I hope your weekend is amazing and I’ll be back with more and the finished cards.

Watercolors: Wooly Mastadon Watercolors: Wooly Mastadon

~Stay Inspired

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

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

TDF 2015 FO Roundup

TDF Spinning: Wooly Mastadon

Well, today is the final day of TDF and I thought it would make sense to share my final products with you from #TDF2015. I made amazing progress this year. Last year I only managed to spin a little and didn’t even finish one skein of yarn. This year I successfully finished two skeins of yarn in the three week period. I am super excited about my progress, especially since this is the fastest I have ever spun, the quality has improved greatly, and the quantity is unheard of for me. I was happy if I’d finish a skein in a little over a month in the past. The first skein I spun up for TDF I finished in a week. But you want the stats, here you go…out of order.

The second skein I finished (pictured above) hasn’t yet been featured here. It is around 546 yards of a 2-ply sport weight yarn, spun up from a braid of sw merino/nylon in the Copper Harbor colorway from Camelot Dyeworks. I love this yarn, and am pretty sure that if a shawl doesn’t see it first, it will become a wonderful pair of socks to wear around the house in winter. I absolutely love it. It does veer away from my typical color tendencies, but ever since I saw this color, I knew I’d have to spin it up eventually and I am so happy I did.

Spinning FO: Wooly MastadonThe first skein I spun up for TDF all came together in a week. It is a skein of 352 yards of a 2-ply light worsted weight yarn. This is also from Camelot Dyeworks: her Gumdrops colorway in BFL. I had never spun BFL before and I must say I am converted and love it, perhaps even more than merino. I shared my progress earlier, but I must say this skein will need to be knit up ASAP. I love it!

Well that is it for TDF 2015. My spinning and knitting mojo is still going strong, so don’t expect this spinning to die down as quickly as it often does around here. Ah well, I’m off to work, but enjoy the last bit of your weekend!

~Stay Inspired