Time found!

Found some time this weekend (before my knee decided to crap out on me) to dye up some more yarn. This time I decided to try some variegated!

IMG_0932[1]It’s super interesting to see how the different colors came out. It’s nowhere near perfect, there were quite a few muddy spots but I learned a ton from this as well!

I also learned that a $5 roasting pan to do this in was not the best choice. I soaked it to clean it and there were all kinds of weird spots and blotches. Not ideal. So I’ll be investing in a better pan soon.

Next up is an attempt at kettle dyeing!

Oh! After my knee went wonky, the husband and I worked on this all weekend:

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I had a blast! I always forget how fun puzzles can be.

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An Experiment

Bubble, bubble

Toil & Trouble

Decided to give yarn dyeing a go. Tried Kool-Aid with some roving (it went…ok…I needed more Kool-Aid in there for sure and the roving felted a bit). I decided that it was fun and bought a Craftsy class on the subject – “Professional Yarn Dyeing at Home” with Sarah Eyre. It’s really good, highly recommend checking it out.

I ordered this kit from Jacquard along with some undyed yarn from Knit Picks.

In the one chance I’ve had to try it out since I received the stuff (it’s been a VERY busy summer) I did the following.

I turned this:

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Into this:

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I may love it you guys. I’m hoping to try variegated as soon as I get some time!

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Adding to the Universe

Been working on the cabled scarf – more about that below but I wanted to get a pic in!

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Hoo boy – things have been rough the past few days, haven’t they? Well…this whole year really. I don’t know if I’ve talked about it much here, but I struggle with anxiety and depression. It’s something that I deal with every day and both can be exacerbated by something as simple as reading the news or being on Twitter too much. Unfortunately, my primary means of talking with my friends is Twitter. And with the current…turmoil…going on in the world, it can be tough to find a good balance.

I decided today to post some suggestions of how I’m coping and getting through all this.

  1. Creating – In my case? Knitting. This may come as a huge shock on this knitting blog ;-). I find knitting to be very soothing…the repetition, the feel of the yarn, all of it helps calm my brain down. Lately I’ve been working on the cabled scarf for a friend in a pattern of my own design. It’s easy enough that I’ve memorized the stitch pattern but with the cable it’s challenging enough to keep my focused. So if you’re finding things tough to deal with, I highly suggest turning away from the internet and turning towards creating something – it helps.
  2. Playing – For me, it’s been modded Minecraft. Specifically, Agrarian Skies. I find it to be challenging and fun and very little pressure. This particular mod forces you to start up in the sky, with a small amount of blocks to stand on, a few blocks of dirt and 1 tree. From there you have to create EVERYTHING. It’s a good way to slow down because there isn’t much to actually do until you get stuff set up. Something like Minecraft is great for it, or Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley. Stuff that isn’t too stressful.
  3. Listening – I’ve recently had a few podcasts recommended to me that have turned out to be some of the greatest things to come into my life. First I started listening to The Adventure Zone, a DnD podcast. From there, I started listening to their other podcast “My Brother, My Brother and Me” – an advice show for the Modern area. As you can see from the name, there are 3 brothers and they give advice to people who write in and read Yahoo Answers questions and then go off on comedic tangents. It’s a great show and really funny. The best part? Their comedy isn’t at all stressful. Too many people rely on easy, hurtful jokes. These guys just have a good time and get silly without intentionally hurting people’s feelings. And if they happen to do so? They’re the first ones to apologize for it. Never have I listened to funny people try so hard to also be GOOD people. It’s refreshing and means I don’t have to constantly try to apologize for liking it. All three brothers are a delight and I’m working my way through all of their various projects.
  4. Watching – May I recommend Murder She Wrote? I unironically LOVE this show. I love mystery shows from this time period because everything always works out. I know that by the end of the story the bad guy will have been caught and the mystery solved. Also, it’s about an older woman who’s been widowed who’s just starting her second career as a bestselling mystery writer. It’s friggin’ great. And the fashion is always fun to see!
  5. Reading – Usually when I’m having these kinds of days, I read stuff I’ve read a million times before. I like the familiarity of knowing what’s going to happen and that things will work out. I tend to gravitate towards murder mysteries or romance novels. Just like with Murder She Wrote, I know things are going to work out – that’s the formula. I can highly suggest giving Maggie Sefton’s serious of Knitting Mysteries – they’re great and fiber oriented, so it’s double the fun! I just went to grab a link to the first book and it turns out you can get the first 2 for $1.99 right now! GET ON IT!
  6. Cuddling – When in doubt, find someone or something to cuddle with. For me, it’s either the husband or my cat. A stuffed animal or pillow works too.

The most important thing is to take care of yourself. Do something nice for yourself each day. It’s important to help others but you can’t help anyone if you don’t help yourself sometimes. It’s just like airplane instructions say…secure your own oxygen mask before helping secure a child’s. Be as kind to yourself as you would to everyone else. Despite our differences, we’re all in the same world.

Gratuitous cat & knitting picture!

Gratuitous cat & knitting picture!

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Writing a pattern?

Today I am full of questions!

Celtic Cable Scarf - cropped out the row instructions to keep the mystery ALIVE

Celtic Cable Scarf – originally

Ages ago I started a scarf for my friend Nate. He requested a cable scarf in green. I originally chose the Celtic Cable Scarf by Vanessa Lewis. It’s a beautiful pattern, good yarn but dang it made my hands hurt. So it languished. I’d put one or two rows on every few weeks…or months.

Each time, I’d pull it out, figure out the directions and where I was, find a cable needle and then put a row on then go “nope” due to the pain.

So I had to really consider the piece and I decided to rip it out and start over. I couldn’t find a pattern that I wanted to go with so I decided to try my hand at cobbling together a design of my own. I pulled out my copy of A Treasury of Knitting Patterns and found a cable I liked. From there I did some simple stitches around the panel to make up the scarf and this is what it currently looks like:

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Which brings me to my question – at what point does a pattern become your own? I don’t think this one in particular is different enough to be original. But let’s say I design a different scarf…or a shawl…or whatever but I use a stitch pattern from a stitch dictionary. At what point does that design become original and I can write it into a pattern and put it up on Ravelry? How does that work?

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What I’m working on

I’ve been in a bit of knitting funk lately. I did finish a hat but haven’t taken any pictures of it…so it’s a bit hard to blog about. Mostly I’ve been thinking about knitting and then slowly working on my Rose City Rollers.

IMG_0768[1]I’m on the second sock and have, finally, passed the gusset decreases. The pattern and yarn are great…I just can’t muster up any enthusiasm for the project. But I also can’t muster up any enthusiasm for any other project.

So what have I been up to? Mostly I’ve been playing old video games and reading books I’ve read before. I’m a creature of habit that way.

I’ve also gotten into Makeup Tutorial videos on youtube. For the last few years I kind of gave up on wearing makeup. Through these videos though, I’ve become super inspired to try and learn to do my own makeup better. I struggle against negative stereotypes about makeup and how that intersects with feminism. But ultimately, if I like it and have fun with it…who cares? It doesn’t mean anything other than I like putting it on.

What have you guys been up to?

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I did it!

Pattern: "How Cold Is It" by Drunk Girl Designs

Pattern: “How Cold Is It” by Drunk Girl Designs

I did it! I finished the mittens!

Ok, so I was over a month late. And I had to spend about 18-22 hours over a 72 hour period to finish them. Staying up way too late each night.

And yes, my hands are sore and my wrists ache and I worry I’m going to wake up and have a gnarled lump where my hands used to be.

But they’re done and I’m free!

I got these in the mail yesterday and they’re on their way to their new owner. I didn’t get a chance to block them which is a bummer but I think I’ll give directions to the recipient as soon as they get them.

Participating in a craft swap was an interesting experience. I understand why people would enjoy them but I think I’ve found they’re definitely not for me.

I craft for fun and stress relief. Knitting and spinning on a deadline doesn’t work for me, even if it is a 6-month deadline. I procrastinate, I stress and worry and it sucks all the joy out of it. However, more power to the people who DO participate. I’m glad I gave it a try.

I think, in the future, if there’s a swap that seems like fun, I’ll just make something on theme for myself. Basically using the swaps as inspiration.

In other news, I got new bobbins from Akerworks – I haven’t had a chance to try them out yet due to the aforementioned swap but I’m hoping to break them in this week once my hands feel better. I’ll get a review up soon!

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Game Review: Stardew Valley

stardew1Title: Stardew Valley

System: PC

Available through: Steam, GOG and Humble

Fiber content: 5/5 – There a spinning wheel in the restored craft room of the community center. You can raise sheep, sheer their wool and use a loom to make cloth. The only thing missing is the ability to knit!

Review: As a huge fan of the Harvest Moon series, there was never a doubt in my mind that I was going to love Stardew Valley. I first heard of the game a while ago when I happened upon it through the Steam Greenlight program. Just the look of it caused a visceral reaction in me. The graphics and concept reminded me so much of Harvest Moon that I couldn’t help but do more research on the game.

Come to find out, it is a game that was in the work for several years, developed by ONE person. I’ve read his blogs, watched his work and I am blown away. Now that I’ve put in a some time (*cough* 29 hours played and counting…since 2/26 *cough*) I can happily say this is one of the greatest games I’ve ever played. In any genre.

The bugs are few, and the ones there have been he’s addressed immediately. The graphics are incredible, the gameplay is fun and the story is awesome.

If you’ve never played one of these farm simulators before, let me break it down. You inherit a farm that has been abandoned for several years. The fields are overgrown but there is potential. You live near a small town with friendly citizens who are happy you’re there. You work hard, clear your fields, plant crops and thrive. You can marry any of the eligible citizens ( you can marry either gender while playing either gender), you make friends, learn recipes, explore the mines and fight monsters while you’re there. You can fish in the lakes and ponds. You can forage for wild plants. You can build a coop and raise chickens. Build a barn and raise cows, sheep, goats and pigs. You can plan this game anyway that works for you!

It’s wonderful! And at $14.99 it’s a steal. Go and buy it. Support this indie developer and have a great time building your country life!

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Yarn Display 2.0

Since my husband and I moved into our place at the end of October he’s been encouraging me to have more of myself displayed in the apartment. He was quick to get some of his art and posters hung up but I’ve been languishing. Mostly due to laziness but I’ve also been a bit unsure of how to represent myself.

This is how:

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Unit is Kallax from Ikea. Insert is also from Ikea but I don’t have the name currently.

It’s not exactly where I want it – I’d like to get a few more of the wine rack inserts from Ikea so the yarn placement looks more intentional. I’m also planning on putting my knitting books in the bottom two cubes. I’d like to figure out a way to store spinning fiber as well. Honestly, I’ve been dreaming of doing something like this for a while so I’m stoked it’s working out! Hopefully this weekend it’ll be all set up and I can get a full picture.

My previous set up was great but the stash has outgrown it’s confines.

shelf

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