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

Advertisements

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

 

 

FO: Summertide Shawl…My Wedding Shawl

Our Wedding: Wooly Mastadon

At last the anticipated wedding shawl post! After teasing the silly story behind this here it is. When Justin proposed the first thing I did was go on Ravelry and search for a lace shawl pattern to knit for a wedding shawl. I had narrowed it down to two patterns and ended up going with the Summertide Shawl by Helen Stewart. Immediately after I ordered yarn to go with the one skein of teal yarn I had in my stash (because I don’t keep white singles yarn on hand). This all happened in a day…I was determined to finish this shawl in time for a date that wasn’t even set!

As soon as the yarn arrived I cast on. I knit the shawl (Rav pattern page here) on US size 6 needles (4.00 mm) out of one skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Glass Bottom Boat colorway and one skein of Knit Picks Chroma Fingering in the Bare colorway. This shawl was truly a breeze to knit and the way the pattern was written made tracking progress easy and fun. Yet, as always, I knit full steam for a few months and then, in good Tori fashion, I let it sit untouched for a few months while I pushed to finish other wedding items and take care of Mom. Not until April did I really push to finish the shawl.

Our Wedding: Wooly Mastadon

In April my Mom had a stay of about a week in the hospital for complications due to chemo. We didn’t know what was going to happen so no matter what each evening after work I went to stay with her for the evening, and I would knit. In that time I finished a sock (and most of the second) and a hat for my Dad. That lead me to realize perhaps I should take the wedding shawl with me in the hopes of finishing it. That’s all it took because in one evening I had finished the last clue and bound off the shawl. Better yet my Mom had trouble focusing on conversation but she eagerly watched me knit on this shawl, smiling and just enjoying our time together. That memory of her rejoicing with me as I bound off the last stitch is a good one.

A week later I blocked the shawl and waited for a chance to show my Mom. On Mother’s day, less than a day before her passing, she had enough energy to see the final product. Although very weak she had strength to look at it in wonder and say it was beautiful. Looking back I realized that was her last moment of clarity before she went home and I will treasure that moment forever.

This shawl was the perfect thing for our wedding day. It had its moment in our photos after the ceremony and when it chilled a bit in the evening it came to the rescue to keep me warm. Not only that, this shawl holds memories I can and will treasure, of Mom, of my family and friends, and mostly of my Husband and our wedding day.

Til next time,

~Stay Inspired

Photo Credit to Bri Marie Photography

 

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

 

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

 

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

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