2019 Goals ... A bit of everything!

Setting goals can be rather daunting for me as I am a multi-crafter and love many things.  I enjoy learning new crafts, I love knitting, crocheting and stitching, but three things I love the most is spinning wool, drawing, and photography.  

For 2019 I want to...

Spin More - My wheels need to be used more and I definitely need to spin my stash down before buying more.  This coming year I have plans to spin for a shawls and maybe even a sweater.  I will #spin15aday every day to maintain my consistency.
  • I want to spin my stash down
  • Rotate my wheels so I use them more
  • Spin with intention
  • Join SALs (spin alongs)
  • Learn new spinning techniques

My wheels, knitted handspun pieces and wool to spin

Draw and Paint More - Before I ever knitted, crocheted, spun wool, etc., I loved to draw and paint.  I have somehow lost this and I miss it tremendously.  This coming year I have the desire to do more art.
  • Watercolor is a must this year
  • Drawing nature
  • More pen and ink
  • More mixing of art forms - entangle with nature, etc.

My art pieces for 2018

Get Outside More and Take Photos -  Arizona is such a gorgeous state with many different and unique landscapes.  From the desert to the high mountains, there are so many wonderful things I can capture with my camera.  My hubby and I plan to take more day trips so I can use my camera more.

All my photos - Back yard birds and Arizona Nature

Do you have goals set for the new year?

Until next time ~ be creative!

It's A Finished Tale of "Bah Humbug" !

I am so happy that I was able to finish spinning my Jacob Humbug over Christmas.  I ended up with 135 yards of light bulky weight yarn and I love it!!!  It's super soft and has blossomed into a perfect yarn.  The best part, it was a super fast spinning project for me.

I started with 4 oz of Jacob Humbug from the 1764 Shepherdess.  This fiber was so wonderful to spin and it literally glided through the wheel like butter.  It has been ages since I've spun bulky weight, and this was a slight challenge to not over draft or over twist.  I let the fiber twist naturally and just gently fed it through the orifice.  

I wanted to make sure I had enough yardage to make either a quick hat or a simple cowl, so I decided to ply it with my stash of natural Jacob (fiber from a sheep farm in Snowflake Arizona).  This Jacob had a bit of lanolin still in the fiber, along with a bit of VM (vegetable matter).  I really didn't enjoy spinning it too much but it gave me the yardage I needed to ply along with my Humbug.

The finished yarn is a perfect mesh of marled colors in natural Jacob colors of brown, cream, black and gray.  I am also happy that my finished yarn in hanging fairly straight, which means I didn't over twist while spinning.

I can't say enough about the idea of spinning at least 15 minutes a day.  It has helped me achieve consistency in spinning and has helped me broaden my horizons a bit.  This spin has me thinking about spinning more bulky weight yarns or even some fun art yarn.  In truth, I purchase an online Craftsy class a little over a year ago that Jacey Boggs Faulkner teaches called Spinning Art Yarns.  Learning this technique is on my list for 2019!

Courtesy of Craftsy

Until next time ~ be creative!

Merry Christmas!

From my house to yours, Merry Christmas!

“Before the ice is in the pools” by Emily Dickinson

Before the ice is in the pools—
Before the skaters go,
Or any check at nightfall
Is tarnished by the snow—

Before the fields have finished,
Before the Christmas tree,
Wonder upon wonder
Will arrive to me!

Knitters Christmas Eve

by Nancy Massaroni

`Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
Was unfinished knitting not under the tree.
The stockings weren't hung by the chimney with care
`Cause the heels and toes had not a stitch there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
But I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep; he was no help at all,
And the sweater for him was six inches too small,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I put down my needles to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tripped over my yarn and fell down with a crash.
The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how much I still had to go.

Out on my lawn I heard such a noise,
I thought it would wake both Dad and the boys.
And though I was tired, my brain a bit thick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
But what I heard then left me perplex-ed,
For not a name I heard was what I expected,
"Move, Ashford! Move, Lopi! Move, Addi and Clover!
Move, Reynolds! Move Starmore! Move Froelich –move over
Paton, don't circle 'round; stand in the line.
Come now, you sheep will work out just fine!
I know this is hard; it's just your first year,
I'd hate to go back to eight tiny reindeer."

I peered over the sill; what I saw was amazing,
Eight wooly sheep on my lawn all a-grazing.
And then, in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa's feet coming across the porch floor.
I rose from my knees and got back on my feet,
And as I turned 'round St Nick I did meet.

He was dressed all in wool from his head to his toe,
And his clothes were hand knit from above to below.
A bright Fairisle sweater he wore on his back,
And his toys were all stuffed in an Aran knit sack.
His cap was a wonder of bobbles and lace
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.

The scarf 'round his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
The back of his mittens bore an intricate cable.
And suddenly on one I espied a small label,
"S.C." was duplicate stitched on the cuff,
And I asked, "Hey, Nick, did you knit all this stuff?"
He proudly replied, "Ho, ho, ho, yes I did.
I learned how to knit when I was a kid."

He was chubby and plump, a quite well-dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself, for I'd thought up a plan.
I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew, he was tied to a chair,
He spoke not a word, but looked in his lap
Where I'd laid my needles and yarn for a cap.

He quickly began knitting, first one cap then two,
For the first time I thought I might really get through.
He put heels in the stockings and toes in some socks.
While I sat back drinking scotch on the rocks.
So quickly like magic his needles they flew
That he was all finished by quarter to two.
He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me,
And I heard him exclaim as he sailed past the moon,
"Next year start your knitting sometime around June!"

My Hand Knits of Years Past

This morning I was thinking of all the items that I've not only made out of my handspun , but all the things I've knitted over the last 20 plus years.  There's been a lot of knitting going on in this house!!!

I've shared my handspun items but thought it would be fun to share a few of my other favorites I've managed to knit over the last few years.

Schooner designed by Lori Gayle

Chateau designed by Melissa Schaschwary

Arrowhead Socks designed by Renee Leverington

On Stranger Tides designed by Lara Smoot

Mother of Dragons designed by Lara Smoot

Monkey Socks  designed by Cookie A

My own creation - a Linen Scarf in Rowan Yarns

Cotton Shawl made out of Fiesta Yarn

Sentiment designed by Andrea Rangel

Do you have favorite knits that you've made?

Until next time ~ be creative!

Bah Humbug! A Spin on Jacob

"Bah!" said Scrooge, "Humbug!"

At the end of November I mentioned the kit I purchased from the 1764 Shepherdess for the December Humbug Spin Along.  This kit featured 3.5 oz of Jacob Humbug, which I've never spun, and a few fun goodies.

This past Sunday afternoon I decided that it was time to start spinning this fiber and chose my Ashford Kiwi with it's bulky flyer.    For this spin I've decided to go bulky.  I took the 3.5 oz braid of roving and split it evenly into two 1.7 oz strips.  I then split the first strip into 8 equal parts, gently drafted it to open up the fiber and started spinning.

I am spinning worsted and with a low twist.  My original plans was to spin the first 1.7oz on one bobbin and the second on another bobbin, then ply together.  After much thought I've decided to spin all the Humbug together and play with a solid Jacob I have in my stash.  I am aiming for bulky weight with this spin and I really love the marled look I'm achieving.

From Wikipedia
The Jacob is a British breed of domestic sheep. It combines two characteristics unusual in sheep: it is piebald—dark-coloured with areas of white wool—and it is often polycerate or multi-horned. It most commonly has four horns. The origin of the breed is not known; broken-coloured polycerate sheep were present in England by the middle of the seventeenth century, and were widespread a century later. 

Typical Humbug Blend:
33.3% White Jacob
33.3% Grey Jacob
33.3% Black Jacob

I just love the marled look !

I'm very excited about this spin and can't wait to see how it turns out.  I think it will be perfect for a bulky weight hat!

Until next time ~ be creative!

Sunday Spinning

I'm really enjoying spinning my Oink Pigments BLF Tussah Silk blend in the color Searched in Vein.  This is a true dream to spin and I'm quite tickled that I'm maintaining my consistency that I was wanting.

I’m excited about the upcoming spin-along hosted by Spin Off Magazine that will  kick off January 1st.  This is a wonderful challenge to spin for a full Hap Shawl or a half Hap Shawl.  I believe this spin-along will mainly be on Instagram with the hashtag #SOHapalong to follow.  You can also join in on the fun on Ravelry in the Spin Off Group thread here.  I'm thinking this spin-along idea came about from the article written by Deborah Held ( @doodler01 on Instagram) for the Fall 2018 issue of Spin Off and the Half Hap design by Rebecca Blair.  The article covers the history and traits of the hap.  If you haven't read Deborah's article, it's one that I think you really will find interesting.

© Interweave / George Boe
Rebecca Blair designed a Hap Shawl for Interweave Knits Holiday 2018 based on a garter-stitch bias-knitted square center and using commercial yarn. For this handspun version, Sara Greer used hand-prepared batts of fine Shetland wool from Whispering Pines in four natural colors. She converted the center square into a triangle, worked the bold three-color zigzagging border on the short sides, and added the pointed edging on all three sides. ~ Spin Off Magazine

There are several Hap Shawl patterns but I think my favorite is the collection by Sharon Miller, Heirloom Knitting's Shetland Hap Shawls: Then & Now.  I have this book in my knitting library and not only is it full of patterns, but the history of the Shetland Hap.

Other favorites include:

I plan to join this spin-along and will be spinning for the Half Hap by Rebecca Blair as I have this issue and love the pattern.  I may use my already spun fiber that was destined for the Hap Cowl, or decided upon something else.  Whatever the case, this will truly be a fun challenge!!!

Something new ....   I did my very first "live" video on Instagram to share my room I spin in.  This room houses all my wheels (Ashford and Schacht), along with spinning fiber, collectibles, books and more.  That was fun and I think I might have to do it again!!!  

Until next time ~ be creative!

In My Knitting Basket

I seem to have the same projects in my knitting basket as before but I have managed to add one new project, a caplet!

I also had the latest issue of Interweave Crochet fall into my basket.  I could not resist a few of the designs in this issue, especially the Apres Ski Poncho by Amy Gunderson and the Tunisian Crescent Shawlette by Juliette Bezold.

The little book tucked in front of my magazine is a pristine 1915 edition of  How to Knit Socks by Maud Churchill Nicoll.  I am such a sucker for vintage and antique knitting books and when I found this book on eBay, I simply could not resist buying it and snapped it up for a wonderful price considering most go for over $100.                   
I honestly do not think it's ever been opened or used.  It's in pristine condition and has so many wonderful tips, photos and more.  I look forward to making a pair of socks from a pattern that is included.

Now I must find another book she wrote called Knitting and Sewing, published in 1918.  The hunt begins!!!

Until next time ~ be creative!

Handspun Goodness Made My Top 9 !

Just like the rest of the Instagramers out there I love to see what my top nine liked posts for the year has been.  This year is exciting as my spinning was in my top nine!!!

Top left to right:  
  • My spinning room house my Ashford Traditional, Ashford Kiwi 1 and Kiwi 2, Schacht Matchless, Schacht Side Kick, Schacht Lady Bug and Schacht Flatiron
  • My finished handspun in Hello Yarn in Hummingbird
  • Spinning my Hummingbird on my Kiwi 2.

Middle left to right:  
Bottom left to Right:

This has encouraged me to spin more in 2019 and to start using my handspun in projects. I plan to continue with the #spin15aday challenge on Instagram too.  Not only does this challenge help with consistency in my spinning but will help me to start using up my fiber stash.

Until next time ~ happy spinning!!!

Socks, Socks and Maybe A Bag Too!

I honestly feel I have not made much progress over the last two weeks on my sock knitting.  For some reason I seem to be slightly distracted and unable seem to focus on knitting.  I am on the heel of my Vanilla Sock and have three more pattern repeats before I start the heel of my Cozy Autumn Socks, which I am hopeful will be completed in the next week or so.

Meantime I just received in the mail a beautiful sock yarn set fromThe Wool Barn.  After seeing this gorgeous yarn posted on Instagram by Helen Stewart, a.k.a. Curious Handmade, I had to have it.  Helen uses this gorgeous twosome for her Red Robin Socks, which is included in her Handmade Sock Society Collection.

The Woolbarn BFL Sock Set 
80% Superwash Bluefaced Leicester, 20% nylon
365m/400yds per 100g skein

Shown is 1 x 100g skein (MC) and 1 x 25g mini skein (CC) 
Colour: Red Robin set

Courtesy - Helen Stewart Curious Handmade
The Red Robin socks are the final pattern in this first season of The Handmade Sock Society. Inspired by the friendship and energy of our favourite feathered companion, this fun-to-knit pattern shares the same stitch pattern as the Red Robin Shawl, a Curious Handmade favourite! Contrasting cuffs, heels and toes add some extra fun and an opportunity to use a bit of stash. These socks are knit from the top down and are finished with a heel flap and gusset, with a rounded toe, but you can easily substitute and adapt this pattern to get a perfect personalized fit. ~ Helen Stewart

I am trying very hard not to purchase Helen's pattern collection just so I can cast on the Red Robin Socks.  I love the pattern stitch and the contrasting cuff, heel and toe in red. Sigh ... I must finish my current socks before casting on, right ???  

And now for another distraction .... I found two drawstring bag patterns on Etsy in Darae Johnson's Shop, Indigo Bird Designs, that I want to try.  Now mind you I'm not very good at sewing but these two patterns seem easy enough, are very written with step by step instructions and both are labeled "Beginner", so surely I can manage making them.  I also picked up Harry Potter fabric at Walmart to try out my sewing endeavors.  

Leah  Project bag pattern with two options:  Small 6" x 4" x 7.5" [15cm x 10cm x 19cm] and  Medium 7" x 5" x 10" [17,8cm x 12,7cm x 24cm]

Adele - Small project bag with a finished size of 5"(w) x 4" (d) x 9" (to the top) [13cm x 10cm x 23cm]

If you enjoy making project bags, hop over to Darae's Etsy Shop.  She has quite a few bags that you might enjoy making. You can find Darae online at Instagram as Indigobird_design, on her blog as Indigo Bird and Etsy as Indigo Bird Design.

Until next time ~ be creative!

The Art of Making and the Art of Receiving

mak·ing/ˈmākiNG/noun - the process of making or producing something

We hear the word making and makers quite often within our community of creative souls. Whether you bake, sew, throw pottery, knit, spin or work with wood, you are a maker.  

You create by pouring hours of time and devotion into your work to make gifts to give.  You give to those you love, to those you work with, to those who surround you and even to sell during special times of the year.  

The hours that go into making are hours of pure love, of time spent to make something extra special for a certain person in your life with hopes they will cherish the gift you have given. This also is true for many hand crafted items that are put on display to sell at craft fairs and other events, and are often over looked and deemed too expensive.  Shoppers often forget that artisans put their heart and soul into their creations, and again not to mention their time.  Hand made items are true treasures, often one of a kind creations from the artisan themselves.

Without makers what a dull dead world we would live in.  Without makers, we would not have heirloom treasures passed down for generations.  Without makers, we would not understand woodworking, textiles, pottery and more.  Makers are not only crafters, they are preservers of history, heritage, art and the very being of who we are. Makers remind us of times past, of times present and what can be.

The Maker Movement isn’t about buying more stuff. It isn’t about celebrating someone else’s creativity. It’s about transforming the way we engage with the world, moving from our role as passive consumers to being active and purposeful makers. Instead of watching TV, reading books, and buying products designed by other people, instead of being told what to do and what to think, we paint our own art, we write our own books, we make our own furniture, food, machines, and more. We name the problem. We invent the solution. We tinker until it makes sense, and we feel satisfied. And guess what! That means we get to define what “maker” means. ~ Heidi Fieldler, Barnes & Nobles Blog, 2015

re·ceive/rəˈsēv/verb -  be given, presented with something
During this time of year the receivers of gifts of hand made items tend forget the number of painstaking hours it took to create what they have been given.  They often do not understand the agony some makers go through to make sure they have used the right colors, the right fabric, the right ingredients and more, just to ensure they have created  perfect gift.  This can lead to makers left heart broken when the receiver casts asides their gift of love.
I recently heard something on my local news station that was pretty awesome.  It was from a mother teaching her children the art of receiving.  Each gift received by the child was discussed. It was noted the time it took to shop for the gift, the special care  that was given to find the childs favorite color, etc. This is something that is overlooked many times not only by children, but by adults,  especially during the Christmas holidays.  We forget to think not only about the gift received, but to think about the giver and the thoughtfulness of their gift.
I think this sums up my point of "the art of receiving"
When you receive a gift, really receive it, it is a sign of gratitude and respect to the giver.I n fact, receiving a gift with grace IS receiving the giver. ~ How to Receive a Gift With Grace ~ Richie Norton
 “A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”— Albert Einstein

I personally feel without makers, and creative minds, our future would look rather dim.  We need to teach past arts such as sewing, knitting, crocheting, spinning, woodworking and more to our youth.  Without these tactile creations, we truly will loose many aspects of who we are as individuals.  Technology is a wondrous tool, but it can take away the art of being a maker, the art of being a creative soul. We need to nurture those around us to pursue their creative endeavors and to nurture the receivers to understand the passion behind what is given.

To all those makers out there, thank you so much for your beautiful creative gifts that you make each year.  Without you, we would not have unique, thoughtful, hand crafted items to last a lifetime and beyond.

Until next time ~ be creative!

On My Wheel .... Oink Pigments Silky Fluff

I am truly loving the Oink Pigments Silky Fluff fiber ( 75% BFL and 25% Tussah Silk) I'm spinning.  The fiber itself is so soft and glides wonderfully through the orifice of my wheel.  For this project, I am spinning worsted (short draw) and not too thin as I'm aiming for a DK weight yarn and plan to 2-ply.  So far I seem to be maintaining my consistency and hope to be finished soon!

I wanted to share a photo of the braid of fiber before I started separating and drafting for spinning. The deep rich raspberry mixed with burnt gold is creating such a gorgeous yarn and I am hoping (fingers crossed) I will end up with enough yardage to make an airy lace scarf.  
Until next time ~ be creative!

On My Needles - Socks and a Shawl

As the month of December progresses, I am being very mindful of not going on a cast on frenzy, which is rather hard for me as there are so many wonderful patterns being launched for gift knitting this year.

I am currently working on my Plain Vanilla socks that I'm knitting in Schoppel-Wolle Life Style Ambiente in the color Mint Grau.  I love the color striping of this yarn and the softest.  While I know these might not be perfect for every day wear as the yarn is 100% merino wool, they will be perfect for bed socks.  

For some reason the colors in the yarn remind me of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

I have about 2 more inches to go before I start the heel.  I am thinking of trying a new heel for these socks and would love to know of your favorite heel for cuff down socks. Please leave me a comment, I really do enjoy learning new techniques for sock knitting.

Still on my needles:

  • Cozy Autumn Socks - I'm currently working on the mate.  Sadly I have not made much progress as I've been too distracted by other things.
  • Night's Watch Shawl in Squishy - I've made great progress on this shawl and have decided to turn it more into a scarf.

Hopefully I can at least finish one pair of socks before the month is over and before a new year starts.

Until next time ~ be creative!

Finished Project: Handspun Half Granny Shawl

At times I love crochet for the sheer speed that I can finish a project, especially if it's a very easy stitch pattern like in the Half Granny Shawl.  

I started this project Sunday afternoon and as mentioned in Tuesday's post, finished it. That took less than three days, which is quite speedy if you ask me. 

The only thing I might have changed is going up a hook size to give it a more open and airy look.  For this project I used a size G (4.0mm) hook and approximately 384 yards of light worsted weight handspun. All in all, I truly love the end result and plan to wear my finished piece as a cowl.

What have you finished this week ?

Until next time ~ be creative!