Hall of Finished Projects 2016-All

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pulling those big girl panties up.

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  Oh yes, it is a post in which I release the quackin, on myself. 

  Do you ever start to take something for granted? And feel that you are owed something because of maybe your education or whatever? Guess what? I've finally learned some humility. What, you didn't know I didn't have any? Well, we all have a little bit of that ego, and a little bit can go a long way sometimes. 

  In 2014, I couldn't find a job in my field, and by the time it was winter, we were running out of heating oil so I went back to the state as an employee and was truly lucky enough to find a job where I was very much appreciated for quite a bit of time. 

  Things change, as everything does, and my frustration at my lack of upward mobility is showing. And I realized today that it is greatly my own fault. My husband and mother have been very ill the past two years and I have had to take quite a bit of time off. So my fault in this is that I didn't realize that the job I have is so important to my family and sometimes that needs to come first, which may mean taking that extra trip back, no matter how late, so that you save some time. It may mean asking people to drive family members to doctor appointments so that you can save your time up. It may mean putting your job first sometimes. 

  Things are a little level now, not great, my mom's health is better but my husband is still not doing great. But everything is level enough that I need to focus on giving back to my job and really be there.

  Writing this is not easy, I was wrong. I took it for granted. I forgot how much I owe to this job and how it came through at a rough time. 

  Sure, I want to finish my novel and become published, but I have a ways to go for that. I would love to work in the yarn and designing field, but that isn't going to be happening any time soon. I would love to do a great many things. But right now, I need to focus on doing what I need to do for my family to support them with the fantastic health insurance that I get through my job that won't be effected by the possible changes in D.C. 

  So I printed out some signs for my desk, to remind me to go humble and get my ass to work. And I am grateful for the job, I just forgot that I was. 

"This job was a gift during a hard time."

"No one owes you anything."

Nope, no one does either. And I need to stop thinking they do. I am where I am because of the choices I have made, good and bad. So time to pull my big girl pants up and be grateful for what I have and accept what I may not like for now. 

Time to grow up.

Be Well,

Friday, June 30, 2017

Game of Thrones, Dyeing Yarn and Projects Galore (Busy Gal here).

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  A little over two weeks until the new season of Game of Thrones starts. I wonder if there are any KAL's going on that day haha. 

  Yes, I am still obsessed with dyeing yarn and manage to get some dyeing in every weekend (so far). This past weekend was an attempt to make self-striping in Wonder Woman colors. Not sure if I managed, but will be cast on a scarf with the wonder woman W in it (wish me luck, it looks great color-wise).

  Then I decided to do some yellow. I have yellow dye in the sample pack I got for christmas, though not my favorite color. What the heck, right? They came out lovely, with one having a little more orange (I apparently didn't wipe down the pot well enough and a drop of pink/red was still on the side of it). But very summer flower fun!

  One challenge that I had this month was to double knit this square for my Geek A Long Blanket (and for a defense against the dark arts class in the Harry Potter Knitting/Crocheting House Cup). The big challenge was that this was not straight double knitting.

  With normal double knitting, you have pairs and the first stitch in the pair corresponds to the appropriate color in the chart you are following, then you do the second stitch in the pair (a purl) in the other color, always. Well, I wanted the S of the superman to be fully reversible. You can find the chart HERE. And for good measure, if you are interested in doing your own Geek-A-Long Blanket, go HERE. This square was done in knitpicks.com swish worsted and size 4 needles.

  I've also been working on a baby blanket (had to kick my butt in gear as it's due before July 10th.. eek!!). It is called Under the Sea and is basically several squares with crocheted animals stitched on top. The pattern for all of the animals is pricey, not going to lie, but I anticipate making a few of these squares and framing them to hang in children's rooms. So hopefully worth the investment. Here is Mr. Crab, without his mouth.

  Lastly, yes, I'm still plugging away on the Joji shawl "Starting Point", the MKAL is officially over but I'm still plugging away and hope to finish it soon.

   Perhaps the shawl will be done next month, if I have some luck, or before the next MKAL I am participating in starts in August, that one is called Part of Your World by LilyGo. I have this gradient yarn that is 1200 yards, maybe I'll use it for this one, not completely sure. Perhaps I will try to dye it myself.

  In other news:

  Paperwork for the local fairs is due Monday, should I submit one of my finished pieces? I have no idea which one... Not sure on this one. 

   Goal for today? Get the registration ticket changed out lol.

Be Well, Happy Fourth of July, Happy Canada Day!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Chronic Depression, Dyeing Yarn and Cables Galore

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   Dealing with my chronic depression again today. Even posted on Instragram a few things that people may not know about others who deal with depression every day. 

1) Constantly lonely (even when surrounded by people)
2) Suicidal ideation (not plans, just wishful thinking at times)
3) Not feeling as if we deserve love.
4) Hiding it from others (chronic depression is functional depression...)
5) Always feeling sad. And I mean always.

   What is getting me down lately? Lots of stuff, but at this moment it is how much I wish I was working in my field. But because I have kids and a really good paying job, I cannot take the substantial pay cut (even if it is just initial), not to mention the over $600 dollars I would need to dish out the first year or two to be fully licensed. Pay cut and that money? Not in the cards. 

  Which makes me feel like such a hypocrite. I was just telling someone today to make a list of all the jobs they could ever possibly want, sky's the limit. And here I am feeling stagnate to be a good mother. Life is rough, isn't it?

   But I still find good things to make life enjoyable. It's not torture or anything haha. But maybe this is what being adult is, giving up some dreams to be there for your kids, right?

  There was yarn dyeing happening this weekend, and I am out of purple dye (boo hoo!!!) 

Check it out:

Seriously in love with dyeing yarn and not going to stop. Planning on some yellow yarn with maybe a teal green speckled on it. We'll see!

Also managed to get a good way into A Latte Can Happen, by Erica Jackofsky. Using knitpicks.com stroll tonal in inverness. Put it aside to start a baby blanket that needs to be done way too soon... (eek!).

  Keep your heads up, everyone. One step at a time and find joy where we can. Cuddling with our kids. Chasing our kids like a monster (growling and all). Dyeing yarn, knitting, crocheting, writing, singing. Find the joy.

Be Well!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Dyeing Adventure... Addiction Level Attained

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  This past winter, my husband had gifted me with yarn dye from knitpicks.com (Greener Shades Dye). The good side, is that the the dye is really REALLY fun. The downside? It's a tiny amount of dye so I have a feeling that this summer I will run out real quick. I have already researched and will likely buy some Dharma Acid Dye in my favorite colors.

  The first idea I had, was to practice dyeing a solid color. I had the main primary colors, but that left out outliers such as pink. But I thought a nice pink and then later my oldest daughter and I could poke dye into it and make it a little like cotton candy ice cream.

  So I took the ruby red and mixed the dye, hoping to use less of it to create a nice pink. But to be honest, I didn't know how much to mix. The instructions that came literally said nothing about how much of the powder to use....

   So yeah. No idea what I was doing. But hey, first time so let's swing with it. 

  Using stroll undyed yarn from knitpicks.com, I took a skein out (462 yards) and soaked it in citric acid and a room temperature bath for 15 minutes. At this point, I ran to my phone and downloaded the instructions for how to dye a solid color from Hue Loco. 

  If you go to this page and sign up for a pdf of instructions, it is emailed automatically to you and I saved it on my phone. It was a lifesaver!!  I followed it to the T. :)

  Added lukewarm water to my stainless steel pot and some citric acid (about a tablespoon). Once the yarn had been soaking for fifteen minutes I added the red dye to the pot, then the yarn. Worried that it wouldn't be enough, I added a little more once I put it in over the yarn. Then I turned the heat on and waited for it to come to a simmer.

  Lesson's I learned at this point?
1) Yarn is always darker in the pot than it will be once it dries.
2) I need better gloves so I can open up the white spots to absorb all the dye.
3) Don't be afraid to add more dye to the white spots, perhaps with a syringe.
4) I need to tie the yarn with a darker scrap of yarn because I could not see the sections tied in the yarn itself... I did this from this point on.

  So it heated up, came to a simmer and I turned it off to not touch it until it had cooled completely.

  A bit more tonal because I hadn't really gotten in there and separated the yarn to get the dye throughout the whole thing, but the color was pleasing!

  Next, I decided to try and make a variegated yarn. I did this by following the same steps above (soaking the yarn, and adding water and citric acid to the pot as well, same room temperature, but less water than with a solid color.

  The reason for less water is because I didn't want the dye I was going to add to mix as much in the water. 

   Using River Blue, as well as more Ruby Red (but just a little bit of it). I did this skein, but again, I didn't use enough dye I learned later. I was supposed to be using a teaspoon for 2 inches of water in my little dye containers, but I was using a quarter teaspoon and more than two inches of water. 

  This time I got more into the pot, added more dye and tried to find all the white spots. Adding the red was a ton of fun!!

  I joked that it ended up more like Painter's Blue Jeans haha. 

  The last skein I did was after I discovered I was using too little dye (and I realized that I needed to by more dye soon as I only had a 1/4 ounce of dye in each color). 

  Using Amethyst Purple, River Blue and Ruby Red, I went to town. Still working on those white spots though.

  Finally, my oldest daughter and I decided to test the microwave method. The idea here is that you place everything out on a paper-lined counter, with plastic wrap placed out. You soak the yarn then put it out on the plastic wrap. 
   We wanted to give the pink skein some more color, remember the cotton candy ice cream idea? Well, we went to town and I will be re-skeining it to redistribute the colors. We used a plastic fork to poke the Amethyst Purple and River Blue dye into the yarn, then I ended up pouring what was left of the dye into white spots haha. Why not right?

  Then you wrap the yarn in the plastic wrap, I put it in the microwave in a paper bowl and nuked it for 2 minutes. Then let it cool down completely before I rinsed it in SOAK and room temperature water. 

  Cotton Candy Monster?
  This last step I did with all of the yarn after it had cooled down completely, almost no yarn had any residual dye (because, as usual) I was usually really stingy with it (though I didn't know it).

  In all, I had a BALL and will continue to show you my dyeing projects as the summer progresses. It is best to only do this in my house during the summer, windows open (wool stinks hot and wet haha), and they can dry outside on the drying wrack. 

  On a side note, my adventure with making sock blanks with the knitting machine pictured here from Michael's:

  Violent failure. It did not work at all. So I gave up and caked two skeins of undyed yarn to knit together two at a time into a sock blank that I will be dyeing later. More time intensive but at least it is two skeins at once.  I really cannot say more on that matter, it was the most frustrating part of the weekend.

Be Well!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Dye, WIPs, Knitting, Crocheting... Madness!

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There has been a great deal of stress in my house, the past few weeks. My poor husband is still in a great deal of back and leg pain. Feeling helpless is not one of my strong suits. I am a fixer, and if I cannot fix it, I am not happy. I'm also a Libra so my life needs a certain amount of balance.

  To find that balance, I went out and joined a Unitarian Universalist Church that I absolutely adore, the people are so great. That has opened up all sorts of new opportunities for making friends and social activities, but I am also an introvert and since I'm vendoring at an event this Sunday (and next Saturday..), so I decided to cancel everything on Saturday.

  Besides, I need to steam the wrinkles winter caused in all my packed shawls over the winter. And perhaps dye some yarn, because I went there...

  The first goal is to make two skeins in a nice cotton candy pink. Once they are set and dried, my daughter will be poking speckles into it with blue and purple. 

  My second goal is to get the knitting machine out and begin to make sock blanks for gradient dyeing (so excited!!). 

  Needless to say, big plans in dyeing (haha).

  I finished the Mayapple Shawl by Dee O'Keefe, and I am in love with it. Just beautiful! The yarn was from knitpicks.com in stroll tonal colorway seashell.

  I know, hard to see, but A Latte Can Happen by Erica Jackofsky is coming along beautifully in knitpicks.com stroll tonal color inverness. This has been the main project I have focused on, because I committed to finishing it by the end of next month for an assignment, but I may actually make it (shocker). 
    Others have had trouble with this shawl, but I am right on target in terms of gauge and how much yarn I'm using. So wish me luck!

 Coming this fall to my vendor table are a few pairs of Woodland Winter Mittens from knitpicks.com in a variety of palette yarns (fingering weight). I have wanted to do this for a while. From past experience, no, my daughters are not wearing them to school haha (they tend to lose them).

  Jumping on the Find Your Fade (by Andrea Mowry) bandwagon (after Joji's Mystery Shawl is done, stay tuned for an update on that next week) with some Hawthorne yarn from knitpicks.com (did I tell you that I received a bonus from work? lol). 
  Holy parenthesis.

Finally, I've been working on this cotton/acrylic shawl called Southern Diamonds Wrap by Kathy Lashley in knitpicks.com comfy sport in ivory, black and peony. So nice to have a crocheting project, very comfy to come back to!

Is it that I suffer from this? Or is it a blessing, who knows. Either way, lots of fun to come. Stay tuned and perhaps I will manage a giveaway. 

Be Well!

Friday, May 26, 2017

(MKAL SPOILER) Joji's Mystery Wrap and Other Shawl Love

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Funny story about this picture is that I have really considered this myself. And I use circulars so double bonus of a garrote! Walking to a car in the dark by yourself is not for the faint of heart!

But in other news, next month is going to be super crazy so this weekend will hopefully be super crafty (which is relaxing for me). Lots of knitting, cross stitching and world of warcraft. 

I'm falling behind on the Joji Mystery Wrap by Joji Locatelli, but with the clues coming out every week (and me needing to pay attention to other HP Knitting/Crocheting House Cup Projects) it is just the way it is. But still loving my colors and the relaxing nature of the pattern, though I'm dreading a bit if there is kitchner stitch galore in the end... (yarn is knitpicks.com stroll tonal in raven, train station, frozen, pearlescent, and pacific).

Oy the endings! (Twist off "Oy the Poodles" from Gilmore Girls).

A Latte Can Happen, by Erica Jackofsky, is one of the projects that I knew would challenge me, and I admit I was a little intimidated because of the bad reviews. Problem number 1 was that it was so tight on my needles at first it was rather unpleasant to do, but it has become considerably easier. Next, I noticed that I was not doing the cables as charted... And I don't care because I agree with the way I'm doing them.. But I did message the designer about this.. 

I hope this photo is okay. Dark yarn is hard to get clearly with my cell phone. (yarn is from knitpicks.com in stroll tonal inverness)

It is nice to have a project you can carry around, and Dotted Rays by Stephen West has been that project for me. It is really a lovely project and though I'm not a huge fan of the yarn color, I think it will work nicely for this project and someone will hopefully enjoy it. (yarn is from celestial strings, colorway unknown, shufflesock)

In Other News:
   Life is life. There are good times and bad times. But I've made some very healthy steps towards being more social and developing a healthy community to support me. It's not always easy, I don't always know when to reach out or how to reach out. But I'm learning and that is a big step for me. 

  Next month is going to be crazy, with possibly two weekends I could be selling at, then it will slow down to once a month until the November/December I think. Yay for being a vendor!

   But, I have my cross stitch (with little progress the last week lol), always my knitting and this weekend a ton of crocheting (will try to take pictures to show off next week). Also I have my amazing and sweet daughters, they really are just the most amazing souls I have ever known. I hope I don't fail them as a mother.

 Step by step
Reaching out so tentatively
The floor trembles below.
They make it look
Just entirely too easy
But for me it's just a terror.
To reach out
With confidence 
And with assurance.
To feel deserving
This is the very problem
That my spirit is trying to resolve.
But with each breath
I take another step
And the floor firms up beneath.
With each step
My confidence grows
And my anxiety diminishes.
I do deserve
This feeling that is growing
To feel love in a community.
So step by step
I reach out more calmly
And the floor calms beneath my feet.

Be Well!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Knitting with Startitis (Joji Mystery Wrap Spoilers)

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The past few weeks have been pretty crazy, and my knitting (or lack of focus there-in) has really reflected that. My ability to stay on one project has pretty much taken a vacation (crafting ADD). 

To name just a few items, I have a knitted duck that I am almost finished with, just need to stuff the head and sew it all together (the beak has me nervous...). There is also a mystery knit a long (more about this in a minute), a Steven West pattern (apparently I love his patterns lol), and a vest that I started a year ago. 

I don't believe that I have ever done a pattern by Joji Locatelli, but I jumped on board with this Joji Mystery Wrap because the spirit (and startitis) moved me to add another WIP (work in progress) to my pile.

All of the yarn is from knitpicks.com and are stroll tonal colors. 1) Pearlescent, 2) Pacific, 3) Frozen, 4) Train Station, and 5) Raven. 

Seriously loving Pacific and Frozen together....

I am adoring walking around with Steven West's Dotted Rays shawl on my needles, fairly easy to work and a fun way to use this yarn up, when I was truly baffled on what to use it for. It's just not my cup of tea... The yarn is from Celestial Strings and is fingering weight... but I'm not sure of the color..

Finally, I've been working on this Vest called Tracery (designed by Kathleen Sperling) since last summer. Fairisle is not my strong suit, so this project has been both intimidating (instruction-wise) and challenging (getting those floats long enough). Hopefully it will block out enough to fit! Yarn is from knitpicks.com, Chroma fingering in black and avalon colors.
Stress has really thrown my crafting for a loop. And my blog writing, hence no post last week. I've been going to my new church, Unitarian Universalist, and finding great comfort with the kind and welcoming folks in Oneonta. Really very grateful to have found them and I look forward to continuing to go. 

So craft on, my good friends.
Craft on when you're sad,
Craft on when you're happy.
Push the needle through,
Grasp that crochet hook lightly,
Click those knitting needles together.
But craft on and make the world beautiful.

Be Well!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Little of This, A Little of That... Literally!

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  Yup, I know, it's been a while. My husband was in excruciating back pain and the family was in panic mode to try and get him help and relief. Luckily he isn't in as bad pain, and getting ready to get some super relief from his normal every-day pain that he suffers through.

   Did my crafting stop during this time? NOPE! In fact, one craft that I found particularly helpful during this time was the cross stitch project that I have started from Heaven and Earth Designs called Mother and Child, which reminds me so much of me and my kids. I love the soothing colors in it. This is what it will look like eventually,

And the first page, upper left hand corner with the flowers, looks like this so far.

I am using Q-snaps (new for me) and had a lap stand but really do not need it with the size this is, one hand in front and one hand in back holds it beautifully. Yay for counted cross stitch!!!

Next project I've been working on has been a custom request of Steven West's Vertice Unite. It's all done!!!! This was a surprisingly enjoyable knit, the different sections came together as it grew perfectly. I highly recommend this project.

The Harry Potter House Cup for Knitters/Crocheters has started on ravelry, hope you got sorted. Go Gryffindor!!!

  My OWL was approved and I cast it on Monday, it will be the Latte Can Happen Shawl by Erica Jackofsky (and this shawl was controversial, and I don't want to hear it lol). Using knitpicks.com stroll tonal in Inverness.

Knitwise, I also started a yellow duck (my youngest daughter will steal this I am sure) for Charms class, and so far that pattern is just wonderful! Called Rubber Ducks by Nicky Fijalkowski, I am using knitpicks.com brava worsted for this project.
  Doesn't look like much yet, does it? :) Need to sew it up and stuff it tonight. Then on to the head, wings and beak. Pondered adding feet... *Quack!*

Finally, I decided to have some fun with beads, and made up this "necklace/bracelet" of some type. I used wire and crimps for the first time, and it was actually a lot of fun, though I shouldn't have done it on my lap haha. Lots of jasper (2 types) and fossil agate. LOVE it.

This weekend is my monthly guild meeting, and there will be a bucket auction. So I thought, sure, let's do this. So the goal is to make a few perfect sets of snagless stitch markers, maybe a knitting book and a skein of yarn to donate. We shall see how far I get haha. Best laid plans, right?

My hair is now purple/blue and will be dyed that permanently this Saturday. Sunday I also have church, as I am joining a Unitarian Universalist Church and have never felt so at home. My oldest loves it too!! I need community so feel so blessed to have found them.

It seems like this Spring is turning out to be super busy, so go forth and may the Fourth Be With You (Star Wars Fun)! Anyone else going to see the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 this weekend?? :)

Be Well!