It’s the busiest time of the year as the Christmas knitting and crafting bonanza is in full force. My coworkers – who have no idea I have a blog!!! – are all getting cowls except for the one who is allergic to wool. She’s getting a pillow. I wove towels for another friend since she can quilt anything but I have a new to me 4 shaft Leclerc Meco loom.
Then there is the most difficult and prized gift – a baby dress and matching Santa hat. This is the first dress that I’ve knit without a pattern and if her Momma approves, I’ll be posting a picture later. In the meantime, I made it knit up – starting with bulky white chenille like yarn but switching to knit picks mighty stitch which is only 20% wool. Mom’s don’t have a lot of time to hand wash wool knits. I reviewed a few videos and blogs to do the set in sleeves. Since the baby is in South Florida, I went with short sleeves. The pictures look a little off but hopefully it fits just right.
We had a COVID scare at work a little over two weeks ago. One coworker tested positive despite only having a sore throat, and next thing you know two others are being quarantined. Then I caught a cold. I don’t know how but I blame the short people in my house. Many nose swans later, no covid. I did sleep around the clock for two days.
I’ve been hiding in my craft room, thinking more than I should, and cycling through my crafts. I have 1.5 scarves done, a few skeins of yarn spun and three more cowls knit up. Tomorrow we go look at merino fleeces!
I discovered this a few days ago and I look forward to visiting in years to come. In the last two weeks, I’ve gone from no new hobbies!!! to extending out my current hobbies through the roof. I picked up my spinning wheel and picked up some gorgeous alpaca roving. I dyed with Jacquard dyes for the first time. It was a learning lesson for sure and the dye the yarn did soak up looked great.
I spun up some white wool years ago. I added this to a bobbin of merino/nylon mix and grey alpaca. I dyed the single white wools separately in Jacquard 608 Pink Acid Dye.
I then hung it for a few days. I plyed the three together rather quickly and wrapped them around the knitty noddy. I washed it gently with warm water and Dawn dish soap. The fun part was thwacking it against the kitchen counter.
Now I’m knitting up a cowl for my coworker. I’m thinking about dyeing over it again more pink but we shall see.
In between all that, I brought my husband and kids to a local farm to purchase my first fleece. Technically it’s not a new hobby but I also ordered a hackle and comb set to be able to prepare said fleece.
Arbormeadow Sheep Farm raises Coopworth Sheep in Steele’s Tavern, Va. It’s a georgous area and we got to walk around and talk to the owners. I purchased a lovely natural fleece and immediately went home to clean it (Dawn plus hot hot water. We ever so gently placed the fleece in said water.) Rinse it (Same thing but no Dawn dish soap) and placed it on an old screen door to dry. It was a lot of work but I had a few helpers.
So that’s where I am. I may be a touch over my head but I love it.
I cannot believe it has once again been over a year and a half since my last post. I had knit a whole baby blanket and posted the simple pattern in February of 2019. At that point, I was still home on leave after surgery. I returned to work shortly after and was back in the whorl wind of catching up at work, dealing with the kinds and then before I even knew what hit me, we were moving to Virginia.
Our family of 5 picked up and moved from Southwest Florida to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It was hard but it is definitely worth it. So we had a medical crisis with our oldest, moved, started a new job, bought a house, started a new school, sold a house, had a wreck via deer, had a violent tragic loss of a family member followed immediately by a global pandemic.
How am I holding on? On a whim, I bought a sewing machine. I picked up quilting. I took a quilting class. I forgot how to quilt. I got chickens. I raised chicks from 1 day old. I started a massive garden. I got camping everything and we started camping. I picked up cross stitch. I made tons of projects. I researched backpacking. I planned a 5 day backpacking trip. I called my husband to pick me up less than 24 hours after starting said trip. I got a camper. I knit three sweaters, a blanket, a baby dress, five pumpkin hats and another blanket. I got a popup camper and redecorated and sewed some covers and decorations. The camper broke and now I’m waiting for our appointment to fix it. I got alpaca and picked up spinning again. I started researching carding wool. I may be unraveling but I certainly have the equipment to spin myself back together.
I ready this article and oh boy- if they thought 2016 was one hell of a year, I wonder what they are thinking right now!
I’ve been thinking a lot about this rampant running through hobbies that I have been doing and why it is that I always return to knitting. In the most challenging times of my life, I could be found working on a blanket. I think this is because certain projects are mindless (moss stitch or K5 P5 are my favorite blanket stitches) but meditative. It was my bodies way of calming the mind down. I can’t just sit and meditative because I get antsy and start fidgeting if I don’t full blown get up and walk away. I’m trying to pick up on meditation again and I find it easier if I’m doing something, like taking a walk or knitting. I actually found some youtube knitting meditation videos that are great. I find my daughter does the same thing. She was in the middle of her behavioral therapy online and was twisting the belt of her dress to the point where it was going to rip. I got up, found a few lengths of yarn and tied it to the desk. It did the trick.
I don’t have any magic words except this time is stressful for all of us. I am so grateful to have these crafts and to continue to learn and practice.
Despite the long weekend, I don’t get as much done on the blanket as I hoped. After thanksgiving we pulled the Christmas decorations out. My mom passed away last year and this is my second Christmas without her. I have so much Christmas decorations given by her, made by her and inherited from her. It would be impossible to post them all, so I’m going to share a few favorites. I am floored at how beautiful the stockings and pillow are. She had no idea how truly talented she was.
I really wanted to post every Sunday when restarting this blog but I forgot one fact, I knit mostly blankets. Here I am posting about the same old blanket which isn’t half way done. That’s with me knitting like crazy plus chunky yarn. So here I am, with my blanket, getting closer to the half way point.
In case you haven’t figured it out, I spend quite a bit of time knitting blankets. Big blankets, small blankets, they are familiar and useful here in South Florida. I want to knit my kids things and they’d fry in wool sweaters.
I knit the last few blankets in inexpensive acrylic yarn and I’m not happy with the quality or the outcome. My cables in the pink blanket look terrible.
I purchased 11 skeins of Knitpicks wool of the Andes superwash – which will be not even close to enough yarn 😭. Nobody tell the husband what that actually costs. I usually use a seed stitch or blocks but I really like this pattern on Ravelry for the Maxi Cosi Blanket. It’s a simple pattern which I find easier with big blankets.
Living in Florida has not helped my knitting will power. I’ve found that I’ve lost all motivation to knit more than socks and blankets. More so blankets. It doesn’t help that I seem to be consummately busy which makes focusing on complicated patterns more difficult. I have not posted in several years and I’ve been averaging a blanket a year. So here we go again.
One was a baby blanket for the kid pictured above. I guess I didn’t take a picture of it.
The second was a queen size blanket made of Bernat Cotton – which is more comfortable in Florida.
I knit the majority of this during a time of personal emotional turmoil. For about two weeks, I would knit row and row in a fury trying not to think. We survived and it’s not easy focusing on a 350 stitch row one after another.
I started blanket number two a few months ago with the intention of giving it to baby above – which I decided against because all of a sudden we don’t have enough blankets in our home. It’s the same pattern but flecked with pink and purpose instead of green and orangish. This one fits a twin size bed easily and I finished it 1 year from the date I finished the queen size blanket (thanks TimeHop App!).
A short while back, I bought a Northfield Tia riddged heddle loom from someone online for $30. The thing has some wooden parts and other plastic parts. The books (and the loom) all appear to be from the 1970s. I figured out how to warp it using YouTube. I wove a blue and white checked scarf for my mother and sent it to her for her birthday. It wasn’t long after receiving it that she pulled down her old loom that was hidden for about thirty years. I was trying to explain the process of warping and weaving to her over the phone and through Skype but a lot was lost in translation. I am a very inexperienced weaver and her loom was a completely different type with skinny metal teeth rather than my big moving heddle. I took these pictures to try to explain the process. This might help someone else out there.
So, it has been about six months since I posted, probably a little more. This last year has been one of the most stressful of my life. I survived and came out the other side. Yay. I must be very busy knitting and spinning, right? Nope. I have been going nonstop for the last month and I’m wondering why. I’m taking advanced accounting classes, tutoring, exercising (because these past six stressful months have added at least fifteen pounds to my belly) and trying to cook dinner a few times a week.
In the past six months, I have:
bought a loom and learned to weave
bought a dehydrator so I can make my own fruit rollups
shuffled yarn so many times I can’t even count
convinced the cats to stop stealing my yarn never mind, the cat is playing with my yarn right now
applied to the master’s program for accounting and taxation
decided to do a PhD program in Accounting if anyone will accept me
Obviously, life is busy and that doesn’t include the crazy activities that I won’t post publicly. From now on, I will try to post every Monday. These posts may be knitting or yarn related or they may involve cooking, baking, dehydrating, general crafts or chasing cats around the apartment (changed my mind, no cat posts allowed on knitwerks).
For this week, here is a picture of my very old tia rigged heddle loom that works like a charm and has made me want a room sized loom as soon as I win the lottery.
Take a man’s shirt, xl or larger, cut the sleeves off and using elastic, sew several lengths around.
Thursday I stopped by Goodwill. My Goodwill is too expensive. The shirt cost $5 but it was striped and I loved it. I spent all of Thursday searching for my elastic. I did tear apart my house. I did not find it.
Friday morning, I leave my house early so I can get to Wal-Mart to pick up the elastic. I shut my car door and realized that I left my keys in the ignition. Long story short – it took a slim jim to open my car. No- Wal-Mart did not have my elastic.
Friday night. I decided my sickness, canker sores, and cold sore were a sign I should relax. So I tried. But I couldn’t resist. I’m not showing my sewing because it was that bad. I don’t know if I’ll ever wear it outside but I can’t wait to try again.