Mo’ Mojo please!

20140128-145434.jpgSo here’s the scoop. I am not one of those bloggers who takes amazing pix of beautifully perfect FO’s. You know, the lovely blogs we all look at for inspiration..things that remind us why we love knitting so much. Nope, mine’s the real life, dropped stitch, “oops that seemed like a good idea at the time” sort of blog. This is one if those real life moments.

I have been so excited about this sweater! It’s all been planned in my head, I wove in the ends as I went along, I even told my husband in a quiet, confident whisper..this could be the coolest thing I have ever made.

I had to knit the start of the sleeves to see how it would fall on my body. Then I tried it on. Oh. My. Gosh. Not enough words or awkward pauses to say how yucky it was looking!! I put it down for two days..but not away. Away means “to the place of objects that will never get finished but I can’t throw it out.” No, “away” is not good.

I put it on the floor this morning. Determined. I frogged the top, down to the sleeves, did a three needle bind off for the shoulders and started an arm. There’s hope..I tried it on and the fit was soooo muchhhh better. I think it has been saved, but now I will need to add a collar. Once I finish the sleeves, I will post it and ask for collar ideas. But here’s where we stand now..and imagine that it’s blocked.

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So yeah..welcome to my world of trial and error! And thanks for the mojo!

Send me some knitting mojo!

A while back I posted that I wanted to make a sweater out of handspun, preferably out of wool that I have processed. I’ve done a vest that way, but somehow a sweater seemed daunting.
Then I had a serious “aha” moment. I was focusing on spinning just one type of yarn for a sweater, and I realized that I have lots of single skeins from one-off spinning moments and experiments. And.. I had enough of one similar color family to go for it.

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Then I decided I wanted a simple, free form, artsy fartsy make it up as you go sweater. So I did a gauge swatch with size 13 needles to get a good drape (all the yarns are approximately Aran weight) and cast on!
I’m making a rectangle cardi. I’ll split for sleeves soon, then finishing off the back and sides, and do the sleeves as drop shoulder in natural cream colored yarn.
I processed and spun all of the yarns from raw fleece (except the one at the top of the pic with the shell beads spun in-I bought that roving and spun the beads in) and added sari silk and sparkle into the light purple one on the bottom.
Here’s a better close-up:

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So I’m thinking I can crank out the rest of the back this weekend. Can ya send me some love? A full cardi like this will be a major milestone for me!!

Happy Friday and Spin On!

Where Do you Find Inspiration?

20140120-061706.jpgRecently, Christina from Feel Good Knitting wrote a great post about something we all go through as artists…inspiration.  Which inspired me to think through that process a bit more.   For me, 80% of my inspiration comes from being outdoors. When I get too wrapped up in color wheels and techniques, I find freedom in watching how all the “rules” are out the window when it comes to beauty in nature. Random color schemes, uneven light and dark, diagonals mixed with solids..I feel completely free when I take in that kind of beauty.

But as we all know..freeform creativity does have an element of structure, but finding the balance between unplanned and something you would actually wear is a little trickier!

So…here’s a little inspiration sharing from my top five “go to’s” if I am looking for inspiration and ideas. There’s many more, but my hope is that you will share a link or two below as well. Here we go!

Pre #1. All of the blogs on my reader list, which is pretty much the same as my followers. I LOVE scanning my reader list and seeing what all of you are doing!

The next five, but not in order of preference…

1. The blog at Wool and the Gang  Why? They get it. They have an awesome ability to make simple become uber unique and edgy. They also support knitters from Peru and bring in their Crazy Sexy Wool from there. It’s a neat story..you should check it out. (Plus, any yarn that has “sexy” in the title has my vote!”

2. Quince and Company Blog  I go here when I just want to be captured by an updated version of classic beauty. Their wool is locally sourced from the US, and the colors and textures are just awesome.

3. Do Stuff! Lee Meredith (Leethal Knits) I intentionally linked to her recycled reconstructed sweater because it’s a perfect example of how brilliant and unique she is in her creative approach. I’ve done several of her patterns and have always enjoyed the way she puts them together.

4. Spin Artiste  LOVE this site for spinning inspiration! So much so that I am enrolled in her “Fibery Goodness” online course. Arlene highlights indie spinners front around the world and I am always filled with inspiration when I read those stories/interviews.

5. Fringe Association  Another beautifully put together that celebrates the amazing possibilities with knitting. Great subject variety filled with inspirations and current knitting trends.

Okay..one more! I just can’t help myself.

6. Knitted Bliss  I love her “Modification Mondays” as well as her blending in snippets of real life to her posts. It feels very personal, genuine, and inspiring. Great patterns too–a few have been on Knitty and her overall style is awesome.

Wow–was a fun share out!! Your turn, and Spin On!

When Knitting Meets Weaving

The other day I ran across a very cool book, cleverly named Kismet by Hill Country Weavers. I love my rigid heddle loom, and I have been looking for more ways to use it besides scarves. Kismet has it..here’s a pic of my first project (not a scarf, but a cowl!) which is a morph between two projects in the book (how kismet of me)!

20140113-200335.jpg So the body is woven, then after securing the ends I picked up and knit off the end to give it some stretchiness, which is perfect for a woven cowl. Finish the edges with a single crochet border (first time crocheting, mind you..there might have been a few bad words) and you have a Kismet Cowl!

And..then..I made some hats.

20140113-200633.jpgAll in all, January has been busy but productive. Next post..more adventures in spinning!

Spin on!

Final Awamaki Update for 2013

Wow! December flew by with tons of Christmas knitting, spinning, and creative work. My etsy shop was buzzing with lots of custom requests, so first..the update for giving to Awamaki. After I took out supply costs, this months giving landed at $242!! Total that with November and the year will close out with $354 going to support an amazing organization. Here’s the “Thank You” video they made for their donors this year. Take a look and you will see why I love this organization so much: Awamaki Thank You Video

More soon, but here’s a few pix of my recent productivity.

Rustic Swirl Yarn:

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Funky Handsun Hat for my daughter:

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And a peaceful spinning morning for me:

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Spin On!

Spinning for the sake of spinning..

20131120-134200.jpgI love sitting at my wheel and filling a bobbin. Honestly, it is just as enjoyable if it’s a lace weight, art yarn, standard two ply worsted..there is just something really beautiful about a full bobbin of freshly spun yarn.

In fact, one of the more difficult parts for me is deciding what technique to use for the final product. For the skein above, I was going to do supercoils..but at the last minute I decided it needed to be a Navajo ply.

Then there’s these skeins:

20131120-134409.jpg I wanted to spun a really even uber thick single, which requires a steady zen-like spinning technique..at least for me.

I’m taking an online course to dig in deeper to art yarns, and the initial phase is all about exploring what types of yarn you like to spin the most. I’m having a hard time deciding because depends on what is inspiring me at the moment.

I rarely spin a yarn for a specific project…the idea will come to me while I am in the spinning process. And, sometimes it’s just yarn for the sake if making that be the “something beautiful.”

How about you? Do you spin for a purpose or for the yarn as the final outcome?

Spin on!

Oliver, spinning, weaving…so much going on!

So…my blogging has been a little slow because of this sweet distraction.

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Can you blame me? Oh. My. Gosh. Meet Oliver, my new little sidekick. He’s 5, a rescue, and a mix of Shitzu and Maltese. He’s like a cuddly teddy bear. I confess I have missed a few spinning evenings because he’s brand new to us and I couldn’t stop holding him!
Stay tuned for more Ollie stories… But for now, back to spinning, knitting and weaving!

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Fall colors…and a cabled yarn.
If I had to choose my favorite type of art yarn to spin, it would be yarn with beads in it. I’m fascinated with the combination of yarn colors and textures with various beads..and the possibilities are endless! This yarn is a 4 played cable, which was tons of fun, but I worked beads in like this:

20131118-184252.jpg It’s a pretty simple technique and I love having the beads spun directly onto the yarn. I’ll write up the pattern soon–it’s a very simple cowl that makes a sweet neck warmer–and with the beads, who needs a necklace?
My other big project was a shawl I wove for my mom..she requested one large enough to wrap around while sitting on the sofa watching a movie or reading, but not a bulky as a blanket. I think she’ll enjoy it! I do love weaving..it’s such a different stride from spinning and knitting. I just have to get over the whole warping thing..not my favorite part! But still..a fun project! Spin on!!

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First report from my “pay it forward” Etsy shop!

Hi everyone! Been a crazy month with work, travel, and flu..but good news to share! A month ago, I opened my Etsy shop, with a pledge that the profits would go to Awamaki a nonprofit that supports women in Peru. Because I use so many local or raw products, my material expense is pretty low. So…drumroll.. Based on October’s sales, I was able to donate $106 to Awamaki. Two items were sold–the “Outrageous Cowl” and my “Merino a Bobble Cowl.”

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I have a custom order in progress for November..and it’s so exciting to see this little dream come to life. The joy in all of this for me is the ability to create art from nature. Knowing that someone is wearing and enjoying it and that the proceeds are going to an organization that I truly believe in makes the whole thing come full circle.

Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement while I have been launching this! 🙂

In other bloggy news..I just signed up for an online class to learn new techniques for spinning art yarn. It starts in a week, and I can’t wait to get going on it! I promise to post progress pix..even the ones that are kinda crazy!

This is one of the first items to be sold for November, my Sea Glass Yarn, so I already know I’ll have an update for you at the end of the month!

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Priorities…what are your top five?

20131022-162233.jpgSometimes life can get crazy. Not just out of balance, but cuh-razy. Seems like everything hits at once. When I have those compact moments (like the past few weeks), I like to pull it all back and think through what matters the most, and then my craziness slows down.

For me, it looks like this:
1. Faith. I can’t imagine life without it, and starting my day with quiet time and prayer grounds me.
2. Family. Moments with family and friends are the things that make life real. And joyful. And sad. But oh, so….real.
3. Exercise. If I don’t take care of myself, how can I enjoy the rest of what life has to offer?
4. Art. For me, that’s knitting, spinning, weaving, creating. I come alive..or get introspective. Both are great.
5. Work. Yes..in my top five. But, it’s the last on the list, and that makes me happy. For years, it would have been #1 or 2.

Here’s the deal. Last weekend, my mom came to visit. She’s ill. Two kinds of cancer, and the liver one is untreatable. So I love the moments I get with her. We went to the beach and she took pix of the knitwear that’s on my etsy site.

We. Had. A. Blast. We laughed at the really bad pix, at the cold, and enjoyed the fall leaves. I’m no model, and she’s not a photographer. But somehow..it all came out good.

I’ll leave you with a few moments of fun…and I am off to my wheel.
Spin on!!

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The “Cross My Heart” sweater wrap!

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I am SO happy with the way this turned out. New favorite pattern from Wool and the Gang and it was a fast and fun knit! Simple concept but still unique construction. Biggest lesson learned? Don’t ever try to seam something that is Möbius strip like after a glass of wine. It. Just. Won’t. Work.
So here’s the step by step.

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Lay it out flat. Drink coffee.

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Twist once. Drink more coffee.

20131007-134818.jpgTwist again. Caffeinate. Breathe.

20131007-135016.jpgTurn pretzel fabric into this. For me, that meant putting it on and slipping it off to get it to lay right.

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20131007-135356.jpgBut..I love it!! Super warm and cozy! I spent the afternoon on my SUP and then warmed up in my cozy wrap. Good times. Thanks Wool and the Gang!