I have been knitting little projects like Trudi and now I am knitting up the grooviest thing – it’s called Celestine (PDF file on Berrocco website) and i am stash busting AGAIN – using one of the Regia Kaffe Fasset 4-plies I bought ages ago with sock dreams (the colors in this exotic clay colorway are just AWESOME).
Here is what I have discovered about fingering-weight sock yarn, knitting plush toys, and the needles I’m using…
A) I will never knit socks. I hate knitting two. Perhaps if I learn the two at a time, but that also involves investing in some more needles. Mostly I love using striping sock yarn, and I like it for knitting other things. I am really getting into knitting plush stuff even if I still need to perfect the actual stuffing part (I am using raw cotton I bought off an Etsy vendor, as well as kapok, which rocks – I am not into the idea of stuffing my toys with fiberfill – also known as polyester, also known as “petroleum product”). Unless I am pulling it out of an old stuffed animal, I am not going to promote the use or production of more of it.
B) I love Bryflex needles and was happy to get them out again for this project. I decided to see if there was a Ravelry fan group, and what I discovered is that the needles were discontinued last year, but a little company took over, called them Pearls, and is manufacturing them start to finish in Oregon.
Unfortunately the company doesn’t sell to consumers, but i will figure out a way to get myself more of these, as I find them so much easier to knit with than anything else when it comes to tiny sizes (for example I am using a US2 on this Celestine – and between the ease of the Bryflex-now-called-Pearls awesome scoopy tip, as well as the magic of watching self-striping geometric patterns appear as I knit a geometric shape come plush toy, this is actually fun, when knitting at this tiny gauge never used to be for me. Yay for Pearls (and for Kollage square needles, my other recent needle obsession). Some people collect more yarn than they will ever possibly knit, but I have a feeling I have more of tool fetish, myself (I also bought a pair of a chaiaogoo reds recently, which i have yet to try, but that pointy tip looks appealing).
Yesterday, too, I actually got in the stash bin and pulled out a couple of ancient UFOs. I finally gave up on the Yogini sweater I started back then, using a subbed yarn that acted nothing like the yarn the designer used to knit the original. Even BEFORE I got pregnant and had a baby and stuff moved all over the place, the body of that sweater, which I had completed, barely fit me and would have been more suitable to someone’s ten year old daughter. It felt good to frog that thang so I could use the yarn to knit… Plushies.
I have come to this – small projects I finish quickly and can carry around are best for me – I knew this from the beginning and STILL I have attempted here and there, a sweater or a slightly more complicated shawl, never to be finished.
Expect more pics soon once I figure that out on an iPad – since I have had this thing since last February tend never taken a single picture with it, it might be more trouble than it’s worth but maybe there is some embedding action I am missing out on. For now, lots of links. And we have a knit night to die for here in Shasta now, so I am feeling so much more motivated. There are some awesome women in it!
So that’s that. I have always cringed when I hear someone refer to their knitting forays as “adventures” because quite honestly when I think of adventure, I think of, oh, you know, ADVENTURE – traveling in amazing countries that have been producing textiles for thousands of years, for example (which I have done). But sitting on my couch fiddling with DPNs? Well, that’s more of just.. I dunno, an inquiry… But referring to my knitting inquiries as “inquiries” sounds about as boring as most knitting blogs are, anyway…
But I am knitting. Yes, I am knitting.
It has been a long while since I have updated here.
A lot has happened. I now have a 2.5 year old daughter, I moved to Mount Shasta, California, and I own a little children’s consignment shop called Little Doves (yes, I named it after my daughter, whose name means Dove in Spanish).
The business was a mess when I bought it – it has taken nearly a year just to clean it out, but it is now going well, and now that it isn’t exhausting me and taking up whatever mental capacity is left between a shop and a toddler, I am knitting again.
I am not designing ANYTHING. I am stash busting like mad (with the exception of the Cascade 220 skein I bought to knit up some Jeff’s Mitts (Ravelry link) fingerless gloves for babydaddy’s birthday), and enjoying the simple ease of following other people’s patterns for a while.
Here is what I have discovered:
Size 4 might be my favorite needle size. Especially using Kollage’s square needles, which I am now addicted to. Since it was revealed to me, a total stranger, via email, I am going to reshare what I was told when I sent them an email simply to tell them that I loved the squares and that they should consider designing an interchangeable set.
Yes, you guessed it, it is already in process. We are looking at the beginning of 2014 for their arrival and I will be among the first in line. Made in the US, too.
I was such a hiya hiya girl and I do love my set from them, but this Kollage set is already on my get-me-something list and I will happily pass along my Hiya interchangeables and and many of my dpns when it happens. I am sold. Square needles rock, especially when in the fumbly beginnings of a round project, and they truly do seem easier on my hands as they claim to be and my stitches seem more uniform, too.
I have also knitted a Graham hat (another Ravelry link), which turned out great, using a skein of yarn I found in my stash box that had no label but was eventually determined to be a skein of discontinued Wisdom Yarns Poems.
And I knit a “shawlette“, something I never thought I’d attempt again after a failed attempt at one last year that still sits as a UFO because I used a yarn that is impossible to unravel. And it’s true, the only thing that kept me going was yet another discontinued yarn from Wisdom called Limerick. It wound up striping pretty beautifully, but I have yet to weave in the ends and block it because I haven’t figured out where in my house this can actually happen. The pattern itself? Well, let’s just say we are lucky it ended when it did because I was just about to get bored to tears…
I think I prefer hats above all, but everyone I know already has plenty, and so my newest obsession is now toys (again – I approach he’d this before too – and was terrible at stuffing them). As soon as I finish up daddy’s mitts, we are stash busting and making a little turtle. I want to learn some new knitting skills. For the upcoming toy making endeavor, we also ordered a pound of organic, unbleached cotton stuffing from an Etsy vendor. I imagine it will arrive about the time I need it, too.
So there it is – yes there are a few free hat patterns here that have kept everyone visiting this blog in my extended absence, and yes I it’s true I am knitting again, and no, I don’t honestly know how frequently I will post or whether I will be designing anything else on my own any time soon. The design process is a lengthy one for me, and right now, toddlerhood and small business ownership are what take up most of my time. I’ll be sticking with a lot of instant gratification projects for the time being.
Just for fun, I’m having a 50% off sale on my knitting patterns for a little bit – ONLY in my Etsy shop!
Just enter the coupon code “FWYAY” (without quotes) when checking out. You will receive your patterns within 1-3 business days (generally, however, it happens within a few hours). If you purchase the 10 For Twelve washcloth pattern set, you’ll be receiving a zip file.
I’m not sure how long this sale will run – a couple of days, probably.
There will be a different promotion offered on Ravelry sometime soon, too.
Yep, vague! Like I said, it’s all just for fun.
You can follow this blog if you’d like to keep up with my random pattern sales! I really enjoy doing these and it’s been a while.
ages ago I wrote this pattern for a cowl and I donated the pattern to an organization called Shokay – a non-profit that supported Tibetan yak herders and made yarn from the yak hair that they collected. My GOD it’s soft!
Well, a couple of years later and that pattern, and the sample that I knit and sent off to Beijing, disappeared – I did get a “we got it, we LOVE IT!” and then… nothing.
Ah well! So many people have asked for the pattern that I’ve taken it back, so to speak – it’s been long enough of a wait (uh, YEAH!) – for those on Ravelry, you can find it here. I’ll have it available in my Etsy store shortly as well (I prefer that people buy from Ravelry, however, if at all possible – pattern update notifications are automatic there! I DO love Etsy, but Ravelry is definitely more convenient for pattern sales). I am also having this pattern sized for children and that will be available very soon as well!
Other than that we’re getting settled in here in Mt. Shasta – I am attempting to knit something – ANYTHING – with an “entertain me 24-7 toddler” – reworking my Motorcycle Gloves pattern to fix a MAJOR math discrepancy (had to hire a new tech editor and everything) as well as knitting something for myself – it’s somewhat similar to a design I’d envisioned in my head already, so I’m knitting this as a learning experience – and also, because it’s someone else’s pattern and all I have to do is knit it. There’ve been some late nights watching movies from bed while I count raglan increases, but I have been really enjoying both Malabrigo lace and Hiya Hiya’s “sharps” needles. Hiya Hiya, btw, is a small, family-owned factory in China that produces these needles together with their smalltown US distributor. I love them, even if they do come all the way from China. They have responded to pretty much every single request we knitters have made to them, and they’re a great, inexpensive set of interchangeable needles.
Anyway – that is all… I’ll let the knitters know when the children’s sized Morning Glory cowl pattern is available! Trying to get that out so folks have time to knit ‘em for Christmas.
And also – for Craftsy users, the pattern can be found here.
so here we are…
we’re wrapping up a visit with grandma, who hasn’t seen my daughter in a year. She’s gone from a baby to a toddler, one who’s demonstrated quite a bit of personality since we arrived – lots of new words, a few tantrums, some potty training (and mishaps), and newfound obsessions (elmo and princesses, none of which i encouraged, both of which were surprises to all of us).
the princess thing appeared in a Marshall’s, when a sparkly little princessy dress appeared on a clothing rack. My daughter went apeshit for it. It was thirteen dollars and I indulged her. It is Halloween, after all, and she also seems to hate the frog costume I found in a thrift store in Mt. Shasta recently.
Mt. Shasta – that’s where we’re headed once we fly out of here on Thursday. Yep, surprises. Our time in Nevada City came to a close last month, also a bit of a surprise, but quite a relief too, actually – our winter plans were somewhat unknown, and the thought of living in a yome for the winter was a bit terrifying. It does get cold there in the Sierra foothills, and the yome, while beautiful, was a small space in which to entertain the two of us.
So, a short trip to Mt. Shasta turned into a weeklong adventure and a beautiful living space falling into our laps. It will be cold there, too – but we’re ready for it. I’ve outfitted us with down and snowboots and we’re really looking forward to being cozy.
And along with toddlerhood has come a little more independence. I’m hoping that it will allow me more time to get back to some creative projects that got left behind in lieu of baby-rearing.
Maybe that princess dress will give her some ideas.
We’re also learning about discipline these days. While my daughter has always been a pretty easy kid, she’s got quite a personality, and a definite will of her own now – and two hotheaded parents she’s probably going to inherit some behavior from. I’m doing my best to stay grounded though I’ll admit it’s sometimes a challenge. Having grandma around for a week has been lovely – I’ve been able to fiddle with some yarn and stuff for the first time in quite a while.
We fly out of here on Thursday. It’s an eight hour saga that will drop us off in Sacramento in the middle of the afternoon. I’m hoping I’ll have enough energy to head to IKEA before finding us a hotel room for the evening, and the following morning we’ll hit up the storage unit in Nevada City to load up a few essentials before a five hour drive to Mt. Shasta. I’ll probably bring our bed in and some toiletries and call it a night.
God, give me the energy to survive this week!
not a lot of activity here as of late… i’ve noticed my dishcloth pattern sales have been pretty decent lately – that’s about all anyone knits in the summer besides toys and baby clothes, anyway, right?
knitting? what *is* that, anyway?
i wish i had the time.
what’s going on here? well for starters, this land has turned into a full-on community at the moment as our friends and their baby have joined us here and so now there are six adults and three toddlers living here in beautiful chaos. community can be exhausting tho – there are days when i sort of just wish i could come in and have a cup of tea without seeing other people, but the benefits outweigh the annoyances, generally – and man it sure is nice to have more help in the garden. we’ve added one more mama to the mix, so now there are three of us out there with toddlers attempting to make it happening and harvesting the fruits (and summer squashes) of our labor.
yeah, summer squash. surprisingly, we’re just wallowing in crooknecks over here, and not zucchinis – for the first time since i’ve grown zucchinis, they’re sort of a delicacy. we only have one that produces, and it produces slowly (except for the couple that we missed that of course, were over a foot long). those early crooknecks are doing a number on us tho. they’ve been frozen, handed off, cooked, and… baked.
i made a gluten-free zucchini bread using crooknecks instead. the only thing i’d do differently is use a little less of the squash, as they’re pretty watery and so i wound up having to work some magic in the oven in order to get it dry enough to make sense (yeah, and most folks are worried about the opposite). and i used honey rather than sugar, threw in some coconut butter for additional sweetness and creaminess, and used Pamela’s Baking Mix because the Grocery Outlet here had it on sale for $1.99 a bag so i stocked up because i’d rather do that than sit there with a buncha powder. i’m not the one for gourmet baking, i just want to make quick treats.
it’s so delicious i had a bite of it before the boys and babies left me with an empty pan to discover this morning. And while i’m not really one for the kitchen, this is a five minute whipper-upper thanks to that Pamela’s baking mix.
that’s the updates for now. we’re getting ready to build a composting toilet and a solar shower here and that’s about the most exciting thing my life has held other than my toddler in ages. trips to the river in this sweltering heat are happening a couple of times a week, too, and my 18 month old daughter is at the stage now where if we don’t watch our mouths, she’ll be cursing like a sailor within weeks. her hair’s also grown at least an inch, long enough to do stupid baby pigtail hairdos in. and we’re definitely doing some of those. it’s our parental payback, ya know, for the tantrums and cleaning up of fecal matter on the regular.
i’ve been getting into it a little more… thing is, most of the images i come across these days are on facebook – i hardly visit anything other than facebook, google/gmail and ravelry, but…
i *have* really started to develop a mild interest in pinterest. mostly i’m posting pics of dream homes (think crazy tent-like structures, earthen building, and treehouses), yarny things (a lot of toys – i’m into busting my yarn stash with knitted toys these days) and some covetousness (Nikon V1, anyone?). Paloma also has her own board for any cool toys we happen to find.
You can find and follow my Pinterest boards here.
We continue to plant here, continue to water relentlessly. The tulsi has started to flower and this leaves me with about an hour, daily, of deflowering (heh) tulsi – which also leaves me with an ounce or two, daily, of fresh tulsi for my tea.
tulsi is a wonderful herb, and i’ll be writing more about it in Sanguine Meander this week. I’m loving writing these letters so much, although I wish there were more feedback from folks – I write no matter what, but I sure do wonder if anyone’s actually reading it!
and in the meantime, here’s my favorite pin of the day (apparently it became a favorite of many fairly quickly, lol): it’s a free pattern on Ravelry, too, and if I ever finish knitting this snake for Paloma (i want it really long) I’ll begin on some new things, like one of these fat-butted little guys. Or maybe some fruit finger puppets. At the rate I knit these days, that will be next year, or something – or, perhaps, by the beach this winter. I fully intend on that activity. Books, knitting, and toddler time in the sand (oh yeah, there’s that – Paloma FINALLY started walking – goddess help me!)