Summer Slump

For the past couple of years I’ve found myself slowing down with my fiber habits and this year is no exception.  In the past I’ve associated it with different things, like a new job, always being on the trail, or just starting up with new hobbies, but I think after a third year of this I think I just don’t have mojo in the summer.

Work has been crazy and the last two weeks particularly so and while the heat from last week has broken, I’ve been totally listless in my fiber doings.

The one bright spot, is that I’m making some serious headway on Carla’s shawl.  I was hoping to have it done by August 1st, but that’s unlikely considering the week I have ahead of me, however I do expect it to be done in the next couple of weeks.

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Also, my Dropcloth samplers have arrived, and I’ve been playing around with embroidery, which has been lots of fun.

Four new samplers

Four new samplers

Just starting out

Just starting out

Getting the hang of the stitches

Getting the hang of the stitches

Doodling on my own

Doodling on my own

 

I’ve been sorta spinning.  I got a new coffee table (and a television) two weeks ago and I haven’t figured out the best spot to spin with the new furniture. But I’m making some headway on spinning Angel.  I want to have it done before our first guild meeting in September so I can show it off to Heather (the shepherd).  I don’t think I’m going to make it back to the Rosseau Market this year, so I may have to email her to see if she has fluff for any other of her sheep because they are an AMAZING spin.  Also, there are little bits of VM (vegetable matter, mostly grass) in the fluff which reminds me of where yarn come from and makes me smile.

 

Angel on the wheelI also tried to distract myself with a bit of crochet and for some reason I wanted to make the African Flower hexagons.  They are fun to make but my heart just wasn’t in it, so now I have some motifs with nothing to do, I might make a couple more and sew them together and give them to my friend Kristen’s two-year old daughter Taylor who can use them for a doll/stuffed animal blanket.

Crocheted Hexagons

I’m hoping to get Carla’s shawl/veil done soon because I still need to knit myself a shawl as well as I haven’t made a pair of socks in ages.  I’ve put most of my other knitting on hold to get this shawl done and I have a few things that have been taunting me for ages and stash that is just dying to be knit up.  However, my stash acquisition hasn’t been too bad this year (and I’ve been destashing slowly) so I’m not feeling the relentless push to keep up with my stash this year, which is probably good for my mental health.

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Meet Huggy

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Meet Huggy.

He is the new friend of my boss’s son. I know this because my boss texted me a picture of her son holding Huggy (as the monkey was named as soon as the son saw it).  Apparently since getting the monkey the night before he hadn’t let the stuffy go and was planning to bring it to school later that week for sharing circle.

The picture of Huggy at his new home warmed my heart.  This little boy, who is in Grade 1, and his whole family have been having a long spring.  Without sharing details that aren’t mine to share, the family has been having a tough time and there was really nothing I could do to help them, (other than be an awesome employee).  But I wanted to do something more and this is what I came up with.

I love when the things I make are loved.  Whether it is a dishcloth for my Grannie or socks for my mom, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to see the things I make in tatters because they have been used and appreciated. I think that is part of what appeals to me about knitting/crocheting/weaving/spinning is that the art I make is usable and is ultimately consumed by use.  I can’t imagine what amateur painters, sculptors, and others do with all the things they make.

Well Huggy, welcome to the world; I’m so glad you are so well loved.  And if you want I will make you more bowties in other colors.

_____________________________________

Project: Huggy the Monkey and Huggy’s Bowtie

Pattern: Owen by the Monkey by Stacy Trock of FreshStitches

Yarn: KnitPicks Brava Worsted in Umber Heather, Camel Heather and Red

Two weeks, three pairs

After not finishing a pair of socks for me since last August (during the Ravellenic Games) I finished up two pairs of socks for me and a pair for my sister Carla.

I love making socks, but it took a little kick in the pants to finally get back into the swing of things. I find them the perfect project.  They are small projects (meaning they are quick to finish when I actually work on them), but they can be intricately detailed (but they are knit in the round so all knits), and they eventually wear out which means you can keep making more.  I’m finding I’m reaching critical mass of scarves, shawls and stoles, they spend far too much time in a chest by the door and I forget to wear them.

So I’ve already cast on for my next two pairs, because I really need to alway have a pair on the go.

My latest pair of socks, Patina Socks from the Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Colour Club.

My latest pair of socks, Patina Socks from the Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Colour Club.

FO: Toys for Toshie

Toys for Toshie

For a knitter (or any sort of fiber artist) there is nothing quite like an appreciative recipient, and I think Tosh might have been the most appreciative recipient yet.

On Christmas morning she opened up her three little stuffed animals and she has been playing with them ever since.  The inspiration to make toys came from a Craftsy class with the amigurumi designer Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches.  I don’t have any small children in my life, and Toshie really needed some cute toys.

Merry Christmas Toshie

I’m really enjoying make the toys, I prefer the look of knitted toys, but honestly I am having tons and tons of fun crocheting these little critters and I’m developing a whole stash of Brava worsted to make a variety of creatures and monsters.  This is a change for me, I’m really not a fan of acrylic yarn, but it was the right thing for this project and at such an affordable price and great hand it is a great change of pace from super-pricey, but worth it, fancy blended hand-dyed yarns.

And it’s not only me who has been inspired by these little toys, my mom has even picked back up a crochet hook.  She wants to start crocheting again to help strengthen her hands, she is an extremely talented gardener (check out her Tower Hill Heritage Garden page to see just a small portion of the work she does in our little town) but she wants to make sure her hands stay as nimble as can be as she works them very hard.  Crochet is her preferred craft (over knitting) and by switching her over to a knife hold (from a pencil) hold she has been able to get restarted.  She crocheted a bit before I was born (which is longer ago that either of us is willing to admit) but it’s not something she had kept up with.  However, there is nothing like a cute toy and a cute puppy to inspire a crocheter to get back to her hooks.

Worn out Christmas Puppy

– Details –

Project Names: Toshie Birdie, Toshie Bear, and Reindeer for Toshie

Pattern: Amigurumi Blue Bird, Amigurumi Teddy Bear and Amigurumi Deer all by Stacey Trock for the Amigurumi: Woodland Animals Craftsy Class

Recipient: Toshie, the cute white puppy

Yarn: KnitPicks Brava in a variety of colors

Modifications:

  • No major mods, just color changes based on the yarns I had
  • Embroidered eyes – I figured with a puppy chewing on them, I was better off embroidering on eyes with black yarn, than installing non-child-safe eyes.

New Skills:

  • Making amigurumi
  • Crocheting spirals
  • Attaching pieces
  • Embroidering eyes

Feedback:

  • Yarn: I was surprised and delighted by the KnitPicks Brava.  While I had heard good things about it, it has been perfect for this type of project, and has already stood up to much wear and tear without any sign.
  • Pattern: Craftsy is an interesting platform, and the patterns are well written, so it is a great way to learn more about the technique and get patterns I’m likely to use again.

Re-Crochet?: Very likely, I’ve already had requests for more birds, as they are perfect for little dogs, they are like soft balls that don’t roll away under couches.

FO: Colors and Stripes

Stripes 2

I find that my loom is a perfect palette cleanser.  I haven’t spent much time getting fancy with my weaving, so for it is mostly plain weave on my little loom.  It’s like meditation to me, the constant rythym of up and down, back and forth gets me to a spot in my brain that I don’t seem to find with knitting, which I use to challenge me and to make increasingly complex items.

I like having a project on my loom, however I find that once I sit down at my loom I don’t find I get up until the item is finished.

Stripes 4

This scarf was a bit of a surprise, the warp looked great, then as I wefted with the yellow (the same yellow used in the warp stripe) it looked terrible, and like it was all yellow.  But when I cut it off the loom and washed it it magically became something really quite special.

– Details –

Project Name: Colors and Stripes

Draft/Warping Plan: I started warping with the darker purple till I ran out, then I did four ends of yellow and then warped the remainder of the loom with the lighter purple.

Recipient: The Box

Yarn: KnitPicks Palette in Iris Heather (dark purple), Pennyroyal (light purple) and Cornmeal (yellow)

Modifications:

  • None

New Skills:

  • None

Feedback:

  • Yarn: Palette has such great colors and softens nicely with a good soak, but I won’t be sad to see the last of the Palette from the Woodland Winter Mitts from two years ago.
  • Draft: I’m really happy with the warping plan I was able to make up as I was setting up the loom.  I’m really enjoying learning how to use colors by weaving scarves like this.

Re-Weave?: Yeppers, but it won’t be like this one, but using what I have on hand and figuring out how to make the colors work in my favor.

FO: Blue Willow China Scarf

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Christmas knitting, its one of those knitting things … where knitters overcommit themselves to make items for someone who doesn’t appreciate the time and effort that went into making that item.  I’m not into the cult of Christmas knitting, I do make handmade items for family, however they are people who have idea of what they are getting and what it’s value is.  Also, often they are giving me back a handmade items so its all good!

Since getting a Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom I’ve mostly escaped the desire to knit last minute gifts for people, I can just weave them a scarf. When faced with my mostly unused KnitPicks Palette stash and the desire to make gifts for people, I started making these herringbone scarves, and this is another one.  This one however is for my Grannie, who has always been a fan of Blue Willow patterned china.

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So here it is one of the few handmade Christmas gifts that didn’t take much in the way of time or energy and make a very nice gift.

– Details –

Project Name: Blue Willow China Scarf

Draft: Herringbone Plain Weave, taken from Weaving Made Easy

Recipient: Grannie

Yarn: KnitPicks Palette in Cream and Bluebell

Modifications:

  • Shortened

New Skills:

  • Remembering not to leave my loom under tension for too long, well not for this project, but this was a

Feedback:

  • Yarn:
  • Draft:

Re-Weave?:

FO: Tower Hill Birthday Socks

Botany 1

So, I love my mom.  And after last year’s disastrous pair of socks (which didn’t fit right and hurt her feet) I wanted to make it up for her.

So I made her a pair of stripey socks, because everyone needs stripey socks, no matter how old, or young they are.

Botany 2

But, not only that, they were custom made for her.  I’m trying to design the perfect sock pattern for me, so this was a chance to try out the pattern I have been designing in Felici Sport as seen in my Kingpurse and Sunny Being a Kid socks.

Botany 3

So, turns out I was able to solve all the problem, the bottoms are comfy, the legs are long enough and they are a fun, stripey pattern.

Happy Birthday Mom (back on October 12th), I might have been 7 days late out of the womb, and this post might be 2 months late, but I got your socks made in time this year!

– Details –

Project Name: Tower Hill Birthday Socks

Pattern: Mine!

Recipient: MummyAnne – my superawesome Mom

Yarn: KnitPicks Felici in Botany

Modifications:

  • Pattern is still in development, that way they are design features not mods.

New Skills:

  • Stockinette Short-Row Heel

Feedback:

  • Yarn: Felici is nice, but it is probably more of a light fingering than a standard fingering. I find myself preferring Felici Sport to Felici Fingering.
  • Pattern: It’s still not perfect. but I’m getting close to my perfect plain sock pattern.

Re-Knit?: Yes, becuase I will get my perfect plain sock, and Felici is my preferred plain sock yarn so I will be knitting these again, and again, and again.

FO: Spectra Woven

Spectra 1

So in old news, I have a HUGE backlog of FOs.  I finished the scarf back in September and photographed it back at Thanksgiving, and I mean Canadian Thanksgiving, in October.  Yeah, let’s  just move on from that and enjoy how pretty weaving is in the fall.

Spectra 2

I would talk more about the scarf but honestly, it’s been more than 2 months, and I so cannot remember all the details, but based on the pictures it does look like I need to iron the scarf flat.

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– Details –

Project Name: Spectra Woven

Draft: Plain Weave

Recipient: No idea

Yarn: Leftovers from Spectra-Scope

Modifications: None, what are the mods to plain weave?

New Skills: Measuring the warp properly to use up all my leftovers.

Feedback:

  • Yarn: Worked perfectly for the pattern, but not something I would go get again.
  • Draft: Plain weave is plain weave

Re-Weave?: Well yes, I do love a good plain weave.