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

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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

 

 

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

Currently Knitting

Waiting for Rain: Wooly Mastadon

As promised today I’m stopping by to share my current projects with you, or my WIPs. I think I’ll start in the order that they were cast on or oldest to newest. I would also like to add that some of these have been sitting, but my knitting mojo…my creative mojo…is back so these should all be completed soon to make room for more new projects. My habit of browsing Ravelry for new patterns has also returned and I want to knit all of the things. I’m also open for suggestions. Okay, on to the knits:

Waiting for Rain: Wooly Mastadon

My oldest WIP for the moment (that isn’t in hibernation) is currently my Waiting for Rain by Sylvia McFadden. For a while everyone was knitting this and I couldn’t be left behind. Then in good ol’ Tori fashion, I let the project sit because I was convinced I had to be 100% focused on the project. Not so! The garter sections are a great break from the lace panels and even those are a joy to knit and make perfect sense. Now I can’t seem to put it down and can’t wait to have the finished product in my hands.

The specs: (Rav Link)  yarn, Knit Picks Stroll Fingering hand-dyed by me ; needles US size 6 4.0mm

Scrap Ghan: Wooly Mastadon

Next up, my Granny Scrap Ghan. I gave up on my last afghan project and put it into hibernation months ago, but kept getting the itch to work on another one. Thus, I decided on one big granny square as it is currently the only type of afghan I enjoy making. I love this project although it has been getting less love during the hot summer weather.

The specs: (Rav Link) Red Heart Super Saver in various colors (using up scraps); hook US size H/8 5.0mm

Socks: Wooly Mastadon

Socks: Wooly Mastadon

On to the socks! I will bundle these two projects together to a point. I knit all my socks toe-up with an afterthought heal (with the placed waste yarn so not a true afterthought heal, I know) on US size 1, 2.25mm needles. The only difference between these two pairs is one is knit magic loop method on what I believe is a 32 inch cord (my preferred method for my travel project socks) and the other is knit on dpns. I tried Knitters Pride Karbonz for the first time and I love them! The stitches don’t slide off the needles and they are light weight. In fact those socks on dpns…they’re finished as of Friday! Yay for a new FO. I’ll share some photos later this week.

The specs: (Rav Link) DPNs: Cascade Yarns Heritage Wave in Solar; needles Knitters Pride Karbonz US size 1, 2.25mm

(Rav Link) Circs: Knit Picks Felici Fingering in Sprinkles; needles Knit Picks Fixed Circulars US size 1, 2.25mm

Dishcloth: Wooly Mastadon

Dishcloths, oh dishcloths. When my Mom asks me for something like this I can’t say no. Thus I pulled out some leftover cotton from a box of yarn from my Aunt and got to work. The pattern is from an old knitting book that I adapted to fit my needs and it is her favorite dishcloth by far. It’s a simple project and a quick knit during the summer heat.

The specs: (Rav Link) Misc Scrap Cotton; needles Hobby Lobby (no idea the exact brand) fixed circs in size US 6 4.0mm

Well, that’s it. This is what I’m currently working on. As many of these projects are close to completion I’m looking for my next project. What should I knit next?

~Stay Inspired

 

A Friday Update

Moulin Rouge: Wooly Mastadon

Once again it is Friday…how on earth did that even happen? Well, although I don’t have the final project pictures taken, I just had to share a sneak peek of my current FO. Yes, my Moulin Rouge shawl by Kirsten Kapur is finished and blocked to all it’s glory. It’s super long, way past my wingspan but it’s light and airy and I absolutely love it. More details and final project photos to come.

As for the rest of my week, I finished that shawl and started searching for a new shawl pattern to cast on. Any ideas? There are so many beautiful options and I just can’t seem to pick. I also got out my crochet scrap ‘ghan and started working on the borders on each circle. I’m over half way and since this will be a two year old WIP in June, I hope to finish it soon before it ages that much.

Sketching: Wooly Mastadon

Other than that, it’s been warming up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The sun has given me reason to do things again so I’ve been cleaning and organizing up a storm. I rediscovered some artists materials I forgot I even had and unearthed my desk from a winter’s worth of stuff. It’s been a productive week. Here’s to an awesome weekend.

~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

Best Laid Plans…Or Not So Much

Best Laid Plans: Wooly Mastadon

I went into this week ready to go, a bit tired but prepared to knit, crochet, spin, and photograph all of the things I possibly could. Each project had been designated to an evening (or late afternoon for better light) and I was eager to finish up some projects so I could start new ones. I had even picked out some yarn to knit a shawl (I’m going to knit Moulin Rouge by Kirsten Kapur out of some Knit Picks yarn I dyed with kool aid). Despite all my plans, I got hit with a cold…hard. I still had to work as the one person who could cover for me was sick as well, so all my energy was gone by the end of the day and all I could do was rest. On the plus side, I started to catch up on knitting podcasts and as the week went on I was itching to start knitting again. Clearly there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I just have to remind myself, sometimes your plans have to change, you don’t have to get rid of them entirely, but perhaps rework them. Perhaps next week I’ll have a chance to at least start this shawl. Happy Friday!

~Stay Inspired

Another Cast-On: Mara

WIP Mara Shawl: Wooly Mastaond

So, to top off the week, I thought I’d share one more project that I was itching to cast on. If you remember, I shared in a post earlier this fall my must-knits and this was on the list, the Mara shawl by Madelintosh. I have wanted to knit this for ages and finally realized I had yarn in the stash that would work. Thus I cast on without delay (project page here). I must say this pattern is addicting but also stupid easy. The interesting part doesn’t come until the ruffle on the edge but I don’t mind that. My only issue is that I really will have to dig through the Ravelry project pages for Mara to see if anyone has a rough estimate for how much yarn you might need for that edging. I don’t want to come up short but I do want to use up as much yarn as possible. The life of a knitter, yarn chicken forever.

Well, I guess that wraps up this week. I’m still itching to cast something else on and just have to decide. The design bug has bit me again, so perhaps I will actually follow through with a promise I made forever ago. We shall see. Fall is almost over, snow is on the way (which I am stupid excited about, who’s with me?) and knitting is definitely at the forefront.

~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

Just Some Knitting

WIPs: Wooly Mastadon

As you probably already have guessed, most of my time lately has been spent spinning for #TDF2015. However, this week I had a few days off in a row and was able to fit in some time to knit as well. Since I couldn’t decide on one thing, I picked up a few old projects and cast on something new (I’ll save that for later but here’s a peek). To start, I have made some progress on my Lionberry shawl. Technically if you go by the row count, I am half way through, but because each row is increased a bit, I am probably around 1/3 of the way through. I am loving the progress but I occasionally hit a row where I have to concentrate which means this can be no-podcast knitting thus slowing my progress. I really am enjoying how it is working up: the yarn and pattern seem to work well together. Stay tuned for this one.

WIPs: Wooly Mastadon

I have also been working on my toe-up socks that I keep on the needles at all time. I am already on the second sock and will probably have these off the needles in the next month. We shall see.

I still have other WIPs on the needles right now, but since the heat has officially set in, I am drawn to lace shawls and socks that don’t sit in my lap and make me too warm. I’ll be back this weekend to share my final results for TDF, but for now, enjoy your Friday!

~Stay Inspired