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

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

 

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

Some Neon Adventures

DIY Tassels: Wooly Mastadon

This week was a week of projects, but not my normal projects. Yes I did work on my socks but mostly I had the urge to pull out my beading stuff…to make tassels. There’s a backstory here. I have wanted a cute key chain to put on my car keys for awhile, but most of the key chains I owned or looked at were far too heavy. Then I started thinking about the current trend, tassels. More specifically, neon tassels. I love these things but there was no way I’d pay that much money for a tassel. I went on Pinterest, found a really easy DIY with materials I already had and went to work. In hardly any time at all I had six tassels in varying sizes that I can put on keys, use in jewelry, or whatever else I choose.

beading projects: Wooly Mastadon

I love those easy projects that you start on a whim and at the end of the day actually were easy, simple, and look like they are supposed to. I love the neon colors and am ready to put them on everything (and make tons more). Per usual, when getting the materials for this project I also unearthed some cool metal charms I had received as a gift several years ago. All they needed was a cord so I also have two cool necklaces to welcome the summer with open arms.

beading projects: Wooly Mastadon

Now you know I not only have a fiber craft/art addiction, I also have a beading addiction too. It’s all good, I stay out of trouble that way…maybe. Happy weekend. Summer is coming, it’s going to be a good one.

~Stay Inspired

When You Get Mad at Your WIPs

Scrap 'Ghan Fail: Wooly MastadonIt happened, and no one is surprised. In the past two weeks, I pushed to attempt to finish the bane of my existence, my scrap afghan. Honestly, its been a project for almost two years and although the initial idea was cool one mistake at the very beginning made this project a time sink and trouble all the way through. For some people, they would have seen the warning signs and ripped out the first few motifs at the start, but I was stubborn and decided to plow through.

Scrap 'Ghan Fail: Wooly Mastadon

I was so excited when I finished the borders around each motif for the afghan. So excited I didn’t plan and simply tried to crochet all of the motifs together…without testing for strength. Yeah, that was a fail. I shoved the connected circles, loose ends and all, back into the bag and I haven’t looked at it since. The kicker to all of this, it has stalled my knitting/crochet/spinning mojo. I want to cast on my Waiting for Rain shawl (yes that is going to be my next project), knit away at my socks, and start other projects. However, this afghan is preventing me from starting anything.

Do you ever have those projects, the ones that seem great at the beginning, but slowly but surely fall down the slippery slope of constant error and troubleshooting. This is one. The only way to get this cloud off of my knitting mojo and out of the back of my brain is to finish this afghan. I have an idea for a fix. Here’s to hoping it works and that I can report back with better success very soon. Happy Friday.

~Stay Inspired

Moulin Rouge Progress: Thoughts on Short Rows

Moulin Rouge: Wooly Mastadon

I have been knitting, I promise. The past few weeks, especially the week of Easter were crazy with highs and lows. I got a bit of spinning done, but that isn’t what I wanted to share with you today. Today it’s all about the Moulin Rouge shawl by Kirsten Kapur (my project page here). I cast this shawl on at the end of February, got it started and per usual, let it sit. Well, once the storm that was the past few weeks was past I was able to finally sit down and knit. I sped right through the lace edge and moved into the body of the shawl…that contained short rows.

Moulin Rouge: Wooly Mastadon

Now, I have a confession to make, I haven’t knit short rows since I first started knitting and decided I needed to knit socks. I got myself a book (fyi it was Easy Knitted Socks by Jeanette Trotman), some baby yarn (yes, I had no idea what I was doing and that was the only fingering weight yarn I could get my fingers on at a big box store), needles, and knit some slippers. Delving boldly into the pattern, I worked through short rows sitting on the floor in my parents living room on a Saturday…a weekend free from high school drama. It was wonderful, the socks I knit, not so much…and I haven’t tried short rows since.

Fast forward to this week. Interweave Knits Spring 2016 had a wonderful article on short rows that I was ready to reference. I got out my shawl and started knitting. Truth be told the written instructions with Kirsten Kapur’s Shawl Book One on short rows was all I needed. I got to knitting and am about half way through the short row repeats and loving it. Why have I not worked with these more, they are so easy and manipulate the fabric in such nice ways.

Well, that is it for this week. Hopefully with the coming weeks I can knit, spin, and crochet some awesome stuff. Happy Weekend.

~Stay Inspired

When the Time Change Kicks Your Butt…

WIP House Cleaning: Wooly Mastadon

It’s true, the time change, especially when it comes to “springing forward”, gets me every time. We had a lovely day Saturday, sunny, warm, just beautiful. I took my dog for a walk, cleaned a bunch of stuff, and started feeling the need to work on or clean out old WIPs. I was motivated. That evening I sat down and ripped out what I had completed on my sock loom for a baby hat. It just wasn’t working, the acrylic didn’t have any give, and I had hid it in a bag for a few months…a good indicator that it was time to go. Perhaps I’ll just knit some hats out of that yarn, but we shall see.

The second project, and yet again a project I had hiding away in a bag was a final pair of mini mitten ornaments. I had cast this on in a frenzy a few days before Christmas and realized I wouldn’t have time to finish it to give it to it’s intended recipient so I gave up, stashed the project and happily forgot about it. Saturday came and it was staring at me taunting me. I finally decided to bite the bullet and finish the stupid thing. The plan is to give the pair to mom this week, she’ll have a brand new ornament for the tree or a decoration for the house come fall, bonus points if I don’t have to see it much during the year.

I wanted to keep going, I wanted to cast on a new project, work on my scrap afghan that seems it will never be finished, and knit on my socks, but alas, when you have to be in at work for 7 am, you get to bed early. Although that did happen, so did the time change and now my knitting mojo is dwindling. Hopefully we have another sunny day to bring it back, but at least I frogged/finished a few things so I can move on with new projects guilt free.

Happy Monday! HAPPY PI DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~Stay Inspired

FO: Mara Shawl

FO Mara Shawl: Wooly Mastadon

It’s done! Rejoice! Well, to be honest, this shawl was completed at the end of January, January 24th to be exact. Why haven’t I shared it here then, you ask? I just hadn’t taken the time to take the FO photos. Well, here they are. I finally am getting over the stupid cold that has hung on for over a week, and I don’t know about you, but when I start to feel human again after a bug I need to do things. It was a nice day with plenty of light and I knew I needed to photograph my shawl so that’s what I did.

FO Mara Shawl: Wooly Mastadon

The stats, this is Mara by Madelinetosh. I knit it out of 4ish skeins of Patons Classic Wool Worsted that I had gotten from my aunt years ago and never used. I had wanted to knit this shawl for forever and when I finally realized I could pair the yarn with this pattern it was a win win. I love this shawl, it’s so warm and cozy. I didn’t have near enough yarn to knit the full ruffle as the pattern called for (bad planning on my part) but I think this worked nicely. It’s huge and warm. The finished piece isn’t blocked, I saw no need for it, although I will give it a soak soon just to freshen it up.

FO Mara Shawl: Wooly Mastadon

Finally a FO to share with all of you. Hopefully there will be more where that came from, I am about to start a new pair of socks and a new shawl will be cast on very soon. Here’s to a weekend full of knitting, who’s with me?

~Stay Inspired

Sewing…A Love/Hate Relationship

Sewing: Wooly Mastadon

For whatever reason this week I was bitten by the sewing bug. I haven’t sewn anything in more than a year (terrible, I know) and my project bag I always keep my socks in was getting quite dingy. For most people, the logical explanation would be throw the bag in the wash and deal with it until it is dry. My explanation, I have to sew a new pouch to put my project in so that I can wash the old project bag…yeah my logic is special. Regardless of that excuse I have been wanting to make a few more box bags to put my knitting in including a larger one for projects other than socks, so I got to work.

The original plan, make one small project bag like the one I have and one larger one for bigger projects. The reality, I messed up when cutting my fabric. Now don’t worry, it wasn’t a total loss although I wanted to throw in the towel the second I realized what I had done (including some sewing which I had to rip out). I had accidentally cut my fabric to the dimensions for a different tutorial. Well, at least I figured it out and realized I could use what I had if I simply cut out one more of each piece for the bag. I was lucky, I know, especially with my minuscule knowledge of sewing. I lost a lot of time with that setback but got back to work.

In the end I finished with one bag (I’ll have to sew the other bag another day, I simply ran out of time). It is going to be the medium of my set because the pieces were slightly larger than called for because of my mistakes earlier but I’m happy with it. I still want to sew another small bag since it is the perfect size for socks but this bag will be nice for small shawls and hats (and of course my socks while my small bag is in the wash). The pieces that are ready to sew into a larger bag will probably be big enough for a sweater (yay!).

In the end it worked out and I am ready to start my next sewing project. I have the start of that next project ready for me and I have a better handle on what I’m doing. Hooray for random weekday projects.

~Stay Inspired