Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Done for the day

It's up! The podcast is up, and the shownotes have been posted. Ahhh. That feels good.

If you need me, I'll be at my spinning wheel.

(.....tomorrow is the first day of Project Spectrum)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Podcast on it's way...

Well my dears, I did actually get the show recorded today. However, it's taking forever (as always) to save...convert...upload. So I'm going to bed. This would have all been done yesterday, but...I won't go into detail, but let's just say that after 5 pairs of pants, 3 pairs of "big guy" underwear and 4 shirts wet through in one day of a certain small fry, (including a bathroom trip that ended somehow with pee not only everywhere across the bathroom but also on his head), along with a mommy who couldn't seem to manage her temper very well, I felt it best to put off the recording until today.

There have been apologies made ("Mommy shouldn't get angry, and you need to obey. I love you."), potty training progress possibly made, and seeing as it is 1am on Wednesday morning at this moment, I had best get myself to bed. I will post the episode file to the internet tomorrrow, so look for it in the morning! (I hope!)

In the meantime, here are some photos from last week:

(Click to see the Belly Gallery. I find it interesting to note the gradual mood shift in the string of self-portraits. I have some collage projects in mind...)

Because sometimes it's just good to think about the precious moments, here is an excerpt from my journal over the past week:

Two mornings ago, I found the boys in their room -- Sparky in the windowsill, looking down at the stream, and Max lying on his back on the floor with some little trucks -- singing Silent Night.

Last night, Max came to me on the couch before bed, put his arm around me and laid his head on my shoulder.

Today I was explaining to Sparky (after a rather rough patch) that when he was disobedient it made me sad. His face crumpled into a pout. Tears started rolling down his face, and he said "Mommy, my face is very sad", then collapsed into wails.

Tonight, Max talked and sang himself to sleep. Overheard: discussions with himself about the movie "Cars", sung portions of the Veggie Tales Theme Song and Silent Night.

These are moments, snapshots in my life which will never repeat. I'm beginning to understand the difference between "living through" a life stage/situation and living fully in it. The choice is mine.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Being transparent

To distract you from the fact that I haven't recorded my podcast yet (which will hopefully happen today), I'm cross-posting from my family blog. I wrote this about ten days ago, when I was straight in the middle of this thing I've been working through. There is almost no knitting content, and it's a rather soul baring piece, but I share it with you all in the hopes that it might make a difference for that one other struggling person out there, trying to find themselves as I have been.

If you don't wish to read, please don't feel any obligation.

Oh, and thank you so much for all the lovely comments about Swallowtail. As soon as I get a chance, I'll do a Proper Photoshoot of the finished product.

It is surprising how much we, as people, take things for granted. There are many things you can probably apply this to, but I'm speaking specifically of the body. Ownership of your body is something you probably almost never think of, right? Your body, with all of it's little functions, malfunctions, troubles and joys are things that we pretty much don't have to consider. They just are, they just do, you are just you and that's the way it is. Of course, until, say, a truck runs over your foot, or you break your arm wrestling, or become very ill. Or get pregnant. Interestingly enough, that last thing is something that's normal, merely a body function, a healthy, natural happening. But it trumps all, because besides the fact that it makes you more aware of your body function (or not), it also causes you to realize that you're not on your own. At all. It's one of the most selfless decisions possible. "I plan to give my body to someone else for about a year so that they can live."
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
When I was pregnant with Sparky, he thought it a good sport to kick me in the ribs so often and so hard, that I was still quite sore for over a month after he was born. I never got x-rays to prove it, but I'm fairly certain, from all indications, that my bottom ribs were fractured.

The person inside makes decisions to do things on their own that affect me, yet, there is nothing that I can do about it.

There's something that is kind of exciting in an Alien movie way about watching a baby move through my skin, yet it's dehumanizing, in a sense. While all of this is taking place inside of me, on the outside, I care for two small people who, no matter how gorgeous and wonderful, are still rather young and challenging. Every single need is met by me. Food and nap schedules, constant decisions about playtime activities ("Can we watch another video?"), attempts to be a creative and loving mother, all depend on me, ever moment of the day. And night. The happiness, health, and forming of two boys to be men rest in my hands. (I don't mean to say that my husband doesn't do a hell of a lot whenever he's home, but I'm just talking about being "Mommy", for which there is no substitute. Also, he works long hours, so often we don't see him at all.)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Who am I? What is my purpose, besides a human manufacturing plant? This baby will appear in three months. Do I have the energy, the drive, the focus for three? I'm pretty certain the job I have chosen as a mother is one of the most challenging options possible to me. I could have been a stay at home wife with a fun, crafty business. I could have had an outside, part-time job and pretended that I was still a mall-rat. I could have crafted and shopped and created and lived and loved and traveled with my husband and by myself. I could have time. We could have more use of our money for our own selfish pursuits (diapers, pull-ups, etc are rather costly). So what was I thinking?

There is no out for me.

Please note that I feel bad for even thinking this way. It's not that I wish to return any of my children, but I would like to rediscover the joy, to be actually excited about them. It would be nice to love my job again.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
When my husband was away for his job the first time (a six month stint), I remember suddenly wanting a baby. It became a need. Within a few months of his return, I was pregnant with Sparky, and we were so thrilled. I was realistic about children -- being the oldest of nine tends to instill that in a person -- yet being a mom was something that I could never be truly prepared for. How could anyone? I didn't realize that I had the capacity to be that tired, that angry, that overworked, that emotional, pumped that full of hormones. I didn't realize that it was possible to have that much love, patience, joy, hope, and expectation. But what does it mean? Why do I want it? And once again: who am I?

All of my life, I thought that I knew who I was. But looking back now, I realize that I've often only defined myself by my surroundings. Relationships, life situation, etc. It's time to find me.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I have never appreciated my mom more. It was impossible for me to appreciate all of the selflessness, the strength, the endurance, and the constant giving of herself until I became a mom as well. I only have three. She has nine.

Please don't take this post as a cry for help, or a need for all kinds of "hey, chin up, it's going to get better" comments. I realize that this time in my life is the most challenging possible. It doesn't get any harder than having only small people in the house, with no older ones to help. They will grow up. Things will probably get easier in some ways, while harder in others. In my head I know these things. I'm not asking for your pity, but since I've been trying to share more of my life through this blog, I think that it's important that I share this struggle with you all (if you've actually made it this far through such a long post.)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I've spend much time meditating this while knitting feverishly the Swallowtail shawl. I feel as though I've knit my frustrations, my anger, my fears, my insecurity and doubt and hope and love and concern all into this shawl. I need to know that I am just Faith, the person, beyond, besides, separate from all of the "stuff". Stitch by stitch, row by row, through creating I am slowly finding myself.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Well my friends, you know what this means...

It's a podcasting week.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Winter wear

ETA link to PDF pattern for hat. Thanks Susan!

The other day as I was putting on my scarf and hat to take a walk, I realized that I was wearing some finished objects that I'd never blogged. (Oh the horror!) =) So, without further delay, here they are:

Pattern: Live Dangerously Don't Swatch Hat by Susan Pierce Laurence-- a top down hat perfect for when you don't know how far your yarn will go.
Would definitely knit this again. I paid for the PDF version of this pattern. If you are like me and enjoy neat, tidy patterns with no guess work, you should consider buying it. I think it cost me $3, which was well worth it. I can already tell that I'll use this pattern again and again.
Needles: Size 15 Boye Interchangeable circulars (hate 'em. Stiff cables and the needles unscrew, no matter how tightly I put them on.)
Yarn: My own handspun; bulky to polar weight, thick and thin. Wool and silk, sari silk.
Cast-on to cast-off: I knit this up in about two days... then ripped it out because it was huge...than knit it back up in two days. So I'd say this was a two-day knit.
Modifications: This hat was knit plain after the increases, and when I was nearly out of yarn I purled to create a turning row, and then knit a lining in Knit Picks Panache to make it incredibly warm and soft. When I had knit the lining up as far as I wanted (about 4 inches -- didn't want to risk an itchy hat!), I used a three-needle-bind-off to secure the live stitches to the inside of the pink wool. I love the way it turns out. Wind doesn't stand a chance against this baby. The only thing that slightly bothers me is that the edges flip out just a bit, because I should have bound off to a row or two above the one that I did. My sister Hannah said that she likes it though because it "gives it character". My husband says it looks sloppy. Ah well.
Notes: I used Eunny's circular cast-on to start this hat off, instead of Emily Ocker's, and it was very simple with a great looking result. (Who would expect any less from Eunny?)

The hat happens to go perfectly with my maternity jacket, as well as my Norovember project, which I never showed completed...

Danica by Jesse Loesberg
Needles: Plastic straights, size #8
Yarn: Noro Kureyon, color #170
Cast-on to cast-off: Can't remember, because there was a lot of stop-start action. First I ran out of yarn and had to order more. Then after blocking I realized I'd knit it too long and had do rip back and reknit the end.
Notes: Kureyon is often maligned for being scratchy and harsh. However, if you soak it in a sink full of warm water with a little bit of hair conditioner, it becomes lovely and soft. I have had no problems with this being right against my neck, and I have very sensitive skin.
I'd never done Entrelac before, but the technique was totally addictive, and I couldn't stop myself from knitting this.


Thank you so much for the comments on the boys sweaters, as well as all of your well-wishes for my "motherly health". I have gotten way too far behind on podcast and blog comments to catch up, especially with the state of my brain lately (how do in-utero-babies manage to steal so much memory?!), so I will say a cover all "thank you". It really means so much to me that there are so many of you waiting eagerly for a new podcast. I can't wait to get started again after this much needed break. I expect the blocking wires to come in the mail any day now, and as soon as my Swallowtail Shawl is all blocked out, I'm back at the mic. I've got so much to share with you all, as well as a brand new "book review" segment!

If there was anything pressing that you emailed me about, please contact me again, and I'll try to get back to you right away. =)

Thank you so much for your patience!

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Sparky and Max Sweaters

Since I only have about 2-1/2 months left before this new little person appears, I need to get as much done as I possibly can, creatively. This is the point of my pregnancy where I start going insane with my creative output. Brace yourself. There will be a lot more in the weeks to come.

Getting a jump start on Project Spectrum:

I cast on for this on Saturday, and I'm seaming it up today.

I plan to make one Knitted Babe per two-month color triad, so this Babe is going to be all about exploring blue, grey and white.

This morning I ordered a Moleskine sketch-journal (as recommended by Amy of the Creative Mom Podcast) so that I can begin creative journaling. Sometime this week I'll go to the store and pick up some colored pencils, charcoal, and possibly a watercolor tray.

The boys and the weather were finally agreeable at the same time, so I got a photo shoot of the sweaters at last.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Wonderful Wallaby
Needles: Needle Master set of aluminum interchangeables, sizes 6 and 8. I hate that set, and am so glad that I'm getting the KnitPicks ones in the mail very soon.
Yarn: Wool-Ease, bought on clearance, bringing the grand total for each sweater to just around $3. Insane. Probably my least expensive project ever.
Cast-on to cast-off: I knit all four arms for both sweaters and most of Sparky's sweater in about a week-and-a-half in November. Then I did all kinds of surgery on that one and knit Max's in about another week-and-a-half.
Modifications: Sewn hem, stripes on arms, intarsia skully motif on hood (two on either side).
To do the hem: do provisional cast-on onto waste yarn (I used the crochet chain method), knit approx 1" with smaller needle (in this case, size 6 circular). Increase row as directed in pattern as it instructs to do "after ribbing". Switch to larger needle (for this, size 8), purl one row. Switch back to knit and work in stockinette until the the parts below and above purl row are equal. Fold up hem, undo provisional cast-on and knit the live stitches into the next row. Continue with pattern as directed.
Notes: If you plan to knit this, it's totally worth it to read through the chatty introduction on the pattern booklet, as well as checking out the Wonderful Wallaby FAQ page. I learned some things that saved me time and helped me to really get a good idea of where the pattern was going. I loved knitting this, and will definitely work it up again. It's simple, so it lends itself to endless variation and creativity.
Other post related to this: Snip/Tuck

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Snip/Tuck: A sweater surgery

The Sparky and Max Sweaters (Wonderful Wallaby pattern) are complete! I finished Max's two days ago, and then Sparky's sweater surgery took place yesterday. Here's how things went down:

The first order of business was to add red skull and cross bones motifs to the hood, since I'd knitted them right into Max's with intarsia.

I used duplicate stitch on this. Of course, I didn't check first online how to do it, exactly (how hard could it be?) so the bottom half was less than stellar. I got better at it though, and after all four skull, I can say that I'm completely comfortable with the technique.

Next, I needed to rip out the fair-isle light blue skully band around the bottom, and put those stitches back on needles.

I began fearlessly, but soon became so hopeless that I would ever get it right that I actually considered throwing the entire sweater in the garbage and starting over. Yes, I honestly thought that.

However, I persevered, and soon every single live stitch was on the cable of my circular, and this pile was on the floor (please try not to notice that I didn't vacuum first).

Since this involved ripping right up to the bottom of the pouch, I then knit back down about 2 inches, knit a purl round, switched from my #8 tips to the #6, decreased my stitches by about ten, and knit another inch or so. I knit a thin red stripe into the inside of the hem so that it would be easy to tell which sweater was which, without comparing sizes.

Then, using my darning needle, I carefully hemmed the live stitches to the inside of the body to make a flat seam.

Since I've had insomnia for a few nights in the past week (damn pregnancy hormones), I've had a good bit of time to figure out how to deal with the arms. Remember, they were blue striped, and now needed to be red. I decided to go with one of my favorite techniques of all time: Kitchener.

To start, I ran circulars through all of the stitches immediately above and below the stripes, to secure them before anything went "live".

Next, I cut one blue stitch in the row above the bottom needle, and started raveling it from there.

The little sleeve was soon free.

(For those who will want to know, on the TV is the movie Cars, which was keeping my boys occupied while I worked.)

Then I continued to rip back until the blue stripes were gone, and I got up to the top set of needles. I left that as a "stitch holder" and went back to the sleeve. From there, I knit the two red stripes in, and grafted (or Kitchenered) the sleeve back on to the body. Like magic!

Here are the finished sweaters.

Hopefully tomorrow we'll actually have some sun (unlike today, and almost every other day this rainy winter), and I'll be able to get pictures of the boys modeling them.

My husband thinks that the sweaters are very cool, which is a great relief to me. I'm glad that I went through the extra work to get both sweaters to look "properly rock-and-roll". Even if red and black really aren't the colors for blond haired, blue eyed little people. On the bright side, look at how many new techniques I had to learn to get all of this done!

Right now, there is NOTHING on my needles. What will I cast on for next? Check back soon -- I'm planning on getting a jump start on my first PS project. !!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

That's Twisted

The Max Sweater would have been finished last night, had it not been for this book, which arrived in the mail yesterday:

I cannot say enough good things about it. I've heard only good about The Twisted Sister Sock Workbook, but somehow the cover of it never jumped out and said "buy me now" as some books are prone to do. However, once I opened it up, I was completely taken in.

The entire thing is full of gorgeous color photographs, and a warm, friendly text. I immediately had the feeling that I'd "met" an important spinning and knitting mentor.

When I lived in Georgia, I used to spin with my friend Kirsten, who was always ready to help me figure out the best way to spin some new fiber, or get what I wanted out of a roving. With this volume, I feel like I have someone just as knowledgeable right here in my own living room.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the book is that the author has taken many of the photos herself -- and they're beautiful!

I highly recommend this book if you've ever thought about dying yarn or fiber.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Ok, I know that I've already posted today, but has anyone seen this? Oh. My. Gosh. I had to literally hold my hands away from my wallet so that I wouldn't purchase it on the spot. It's got a really unique construction. First, each snowflake is knit out of the slightly iridescent stuff, and then you pick up stitches around and knit an octagonal background in the suri. After that, each snowflake is grafted together by the edges of the background. I want it.

It's a rematch

It's surprising how much progress I can make on things when I set my mind to it. Well actually my mind has been rather disturbed as of late, and the only peaceful thing that I can seem to do is knit. And knit and knit and knit. So I present to you a nearly finished Max sweater:

He's pretty pissed off that there is still yarn attached, and that there is a circular needle holding the neck stitches. He really liked the sweater though, and didn't want to take it off.

Since all that's left to do is knit the hood, I assume that this will be completed later today.

"But wait", you say, "isn't that the wrong color on the sleeves?"

Aha, you are very perceptive.

Yes, you may remember that when I started the Sparky and Max sweaters, the sleeves looked like this:

Mr. Fiberflash was looking at the light blue and black the other night as I was just about to join Max's sleeves, and mentioned that those colors look terrible together "I just don't want you to waste your time on something that doesn't look good", was the exact phrase, I think. I was a little bit mad, but then upon further consideration I remembered that I had some dark red in the stash... I don't know why it matters so much, but I really do want Mr. F to like whatever I create. Also, every time I dress the boys in the hoodies, I'll think about how Mr. F doesn't like it, and that will bother me.

I ripped back the tops of the Max sleeves, and re-knit the stripes in red. Just wait until you see the surgery that needs to happen on this sweater:

Right. One thing at a time, m'love.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A (crumpled) shawl

The Swallowtail Shawl (Interweave Knits, Fall 2006,) has been cast off (sorry that the picture sucks so badly -- I promise way better during the "blocking and after" photo shoot). I'm just waiting for my blocking wires now. This only took me 9 days to knit; for some reason I thought that it would take much longer. It's quite small though, really just a shoulder shawl, which explains it. I didn't even get close to finishing the one ball of Misti Alpaca.

The pattern was great because there's actually four different charts to follow, and none of them last long enough to get boring. I am very pleased with the entire design. There will definitely be more shawls knit in laceweight. I don't see myself becoming a "shawl person" though, knitting every shawl possible just for the hell of it. A pattern has to be interesting, varied, and have pleasing aesthetics to me. I have the book Three Cornered and Long Shawls (scroll down) which has some fantastic designs in it (thank you, Kirsten!) Now that I've conquered Swallowtail, I feel certain that I can plunge headlong into that book whenever the urge strikes.

I cannot wait to block this out and really "see" the design and structure. I'm also curious about the nups. They weren't too much of a challenge -- I figured out very quickly that it's a bad idea to wrap them tightly on the knit rows -- but with a few of them, I failed to pick up every single wrap during the "purl 5 together" part, and so there's a little loop here and there. I very much hope that I can make this disappear during the blocking, but we'll see.

The black thing below the shawl is the beginning of a Wallaby sweater (buy pattern here) for Max. I knit the sleeves for this in November, I think, but then put it down for all of the Christmas crafting and selfish knitting. We've been watching a lot of movies lately, and a sweater like this is totally perfect for that. It's knit in the round, very simple, and goes rather quickly. I find that it's always good to have something like this on the needles.

A small confession. I just spent a lot of money on needles. I've been "making due" with knitting tools for all of my fiber arts career thus far (this long year-and-a-half -- I know, I'm such an old hand by now) =), and I've decided that this is the year of getting exactly what I want and need for this favorite pastime of mine. I mean, I got exactly the wheel that I wanted last year, and have never regretted that. The needles that I just bought are the KnitPicks Options set, and a size 2 and 3 classic circular, 32" each. I've wanted them ever since their debut on the market. It was time. I don't regret it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Shawl, Shedir answers, and the new PS!!

Well, it seems that this shawl is speeding along faster than I'd expected.

I've already finished the body repeats, and am now starting on the first border chart. For those of you who like to follow along, I just completed row 4 of the Lilly Of The Valley Border, chart 1. I realize that this is where things slow down a little, but I'm up for it.

I didn't expect to enjoy working with laceweight this much. And lace really isn't any big deal. I mean, it really helps that I have a bunch of chart reading under my belt, but this particular lace pattern really isn't very difficult. It's just the same thing over and over, with purl rows in between. I could see it getting a little bit tiresome if it was a huge shawl or something, but this is rather small, and not too much trouble. (At the end of the body repeats, you have just under 200 stitches.)

All in all I'm very pleased with this. I'm ordering some blocking wires from KnitPicks today, which means that this might sit around for a little while after I cast off, but that's ok. I've heard that blocking wires are The Way To Go, so I'm not questioning it. If it makes it that much easier, I'm all for it.

For those of you attempting to locate the Shedir hat pattern that I posted about recently: go to Knitty and click on archive. Scroll down below Summer 2005, and you will see a little "blog button" looking thing that says "Be Aware" with a pink breast cancer ribbon on it. It's the download only PDF mini-issue, with a bunch of interesting patterns in it. The first is a scarf with breasts all over it, but when you skip through a few pages, you'll see a pink version of Shedir. It's labeled "extra-spicy", but if you've got some chart reading experience, this shouldn't be too bad. I mean, it's only a hat, so it doesn't go on forever or anything.

I have read about people running out of yarn right at the end, but I used one ball and didn't quite get through the whole thing, even though I added one patter repeat to the cabled columns (the part before the cables start to "hold hands").

I definitely recomend using the suggested yarn, Rowan Calmer (I used colorway Coffeebean). It's deliciously soft, and a little stretchy, which makes it an everyday wearable that's lightweight and comfortable to even the most sensitive skin.

Has everyone heard that PS (Project Spectrum) is starting again in a few weeks? This time there are three colors and two months for each "section" of the project. I'm so excited! Remember, no matter what your particular artistic persuasion is, they are all included in this. I've got some plans for it....check back soon to find out!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Dirty little secrets

Things you may not (want to) know about me
  • I don't like to knit with multi-colored yarn (anymore). Solid and semi-solid all the way.
  • I like to spin multi-colored yarn.
  • I used to hate tweed. I thought it looked linty and dirty. Now I'm obsessed with the idea of an ALL TWEED sweater for myself.
  • I hate stash (how am I supposed to know what I'm going to feel like knitting for my next project? Why waste money on it now?)
  • I have a stash (small, but still stash)
  • Lingering UFO's make me feel like a failure.
  • I find the spinning of pet hair to be vile. However, I have done quite a bit of research on it, because I have something of a morbid fascination with it.
  • I strongly dislike cats, and am a little bit allergic to them.
  • Generally speaking, I don't like other people's dogs. The only dog I ever really liked was the one (now deceased) that I grew up with. I will never get my own dog. (However, I don't have a problem with anyone owning a dog or enjoying it or photographing it obsessively. Hey, it's your deal. Some people think that little kids are boring, and I have two of those.)
  • Reguardless of how I feel about them, other people's animals LOVE me and are all over me anytime that I show up.
Somewhat related to the above, I've decided to do a little bit of housecleaning. I haven't really blogged about either of these projects much, because I started them in Georgia when I was very busy or there were other more pressing things to blog about. They were stashed away in a bag, but when I set up my studio I put them out in a basket to look all pretty and tempt me to work on them again. A few days ago, I realized that I'd buried them again under something...this time in the basket. Time to face reality. I'm not going to finish them. They're just a weight on my mind, and make me feel bad when I look at them because I feel guilty about letting projects go for that long. But they've lost all of the magic. Even though it is Elsabeth Lavold Silky Wool...

So here, out in the open, are my two official UFO's:

Kiri shawl (PDF) and Liesel Lace Scarf (PDF). I learned invaluable lessons in lace, shawls, patterns, needle sizes and gauge in both of these projects, and it was time to realize that the relationship was at it's end, and all of this gorgeous yarn needed to be reincarnated as something else...


Ahhh, that felt so good.

Interestingly enough, right after I ripped, I read this. Now I really feel better.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Be Inspired

In the past year, I've noticed something interesting. All of us inspire each other, pushing each one of us to think beyond, knit past, unvent something. But for true, pure inspiration, I've realized that it's not the fiber artists who have truely pushed me beyond my creative limits. It's the creative "everythings". I'm sure that I'm missing a few key sites here, but these are some incredible blogs and podcasts that have opened up my mind more than I might have imagined.

Ali Edwards -- scrapbooker and paper artist
Design*Sponge -- umm, you haven't heard of Design*Sponge?!
Hula Seventy -- thinking outside the box, she is inspired by the things around her, and encourages others to do the same. I want to look at everything in my life more closely after a visit to this blog. Beautiful pictures, too.
Post Secret -- I find that my most creative moments often come out of some shade of melancholy. This site contains just enough to set me off on my creative dark side.
Treats and Treasures -- get beyond the difficult-to-read template, and you'll realize that the true "treasure" of this blog lies in the gorgeous little posts. It's like looking over her shoulder into her creative journal.
Whip-Up -- the hub of all things crafty and creative in the online world as we know it

We all know about the knitting/crochet podcasts out there (like, you know, the incredibly popular and beloved Knitting Cook), but here are three shows that spotlight a different creative artist via interview in each episode:
Craftypod (this one is unique in the fact that Diane also gives crafty "how-to's" occasionally instead of an interview, making this almost more like a little audio zine. Very cool.)
Creative Mom Podcast not an interview show, this one instead is full of ideas, creative prompts, and interesting perspectives on creative parenting, all sandwiched between a tiny bit of peaceful music. It's a full hour of creative zen that I save for naptimes when I'm all alone with my knitting. She even has a Flickr group for listeners to post their projects, and has just completed a listener Artist Trading Card swap. Love it. This podcast just reeks of inspiration.

If there are other podcasts and blogs that have been very inspirational to you in the past year, please leave me a comment! I'll be updating my sidebar with the list in the weeks to come. (Along with updating the blog template in general...I upgraded to "Blogger Beta" and, well. Let's just say that it's going to take a bit of work and time to get everything all set back in order.)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Casting off and casting on

Last night, I cast off Shedir, and it's now resting after a light blocking:

Mr. Fiberflash loved it and was greatly appreciative, so I feel that it was a success all around. I'll post project specs as soon as it dries and I get a decent picture of him modeling it. This was, by far, the most complicated pattern I've worked so far. It is brilliantly written, and looks just as gorgeous in real life as it does in the pattern picture on I did catch one error, which I think was on line number 63. I'll check back on my notes and include that in the pattern specs.

As soon as the ends for Shedir were woven in, I cast on for this:
I'm so excited to start on it! Unfortunately, I'm a little under the weather today and feel more like taking a nap during the boy's nap than knitting, but we'll see what I can get done.

Yet another grey, rainy day here in Germany...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Resolute: 9 thoughts for the new year

This is the Thuja hat (from Knittty's Breast Cancer Awareness PDF) that I'm knitting for Mr. Fiberflash. It's the first thing that I've ever knit for him, and I actually finished it the day after Christmas, but it was too small. I ripped back to the columns of cables and added back on two more pattern repeats. I hope to finish it today, because I'm dying to see how it looks on him, and how he likes it.

I'm pretty sure that I've never made up a list of New Year's resolutions. Well, maybe once or twice when I was little, but only because I thought that was expected. I realize that it's just a big list that people love to make, and end up feeling guilty about within a week or so. This year though, I started thinking that there are a few things I might like to do... I listened to the latest episode of Craftypod podcast, and was thrilled to hear the most inspiring ideas ever. Diane suggests that, rather than resolving to exercise more (I would like to start doing Yoga again), eat better (I don't even want to think about how many sticks of butter I consumed via Christmas cookies, food, etc.), or always remember to use the spell check feature on my blog (oh wait, maybe that's just me). Instead, she suggests setting some goals that will be fun to keep. She's got tons of great, fun ideas that I loved; I would highly recommend listening to it as soon as possible for inspiration.

Following is my list of things I've learned about myself in the past year, as well as things that I plan to do in the coming year. All of my plans are low stress and fun. This list is actually all just for my own amusement -- it'll be interesting for me to read back a the end of the year.

1) I can be highly motivated while still being one of the worst procrastinators I know. I love to be busy, I'm extremely competitive (mostly just with myself), and am almost driven at times. Examples of all of this: I write this blog, my family blog, host a bi-monthly podcast, have chosen to be a stay-at-home mom, am raising two small children, decided to get pregnant with a third baby, and am attempting to learn a second language (German).

2) I never take into consideration the skill level of a project before I begin. There is no such thing as "beyond my expertise". If I don't know how to do it, I'll learn for that project. It doesn't occur to me until I'm straight in the middle of something that this might cause a bit of frustration, or take a little while to straighten things out. However, I've learned a whole lot of new techniques this way, and, for the good or for the bad, have become rather fearless.

3) I thrive on challenge. I've never knit a shawl. Well, I've never completed one. I began Kiri last year, but never finished it. I haven't decided to frog or finish yet, but I already have the needles and yarn for the Swallowtail Shawl, which I'll cast on for as soon as I give myself a moment to do so.

4) I hate to cast on for a new project, because casting on involves counting stitches, and getting adjusted to whatever new techniques, stitch patterns, etc. are involved. My favorite two moments of a project are when I first get comfortable with a pattern (usually a few inches into the piece), and when I bind off.

5) I like to do small projects. They might be very complicated (see above), but I like them to be small so that I can finish them quickly. Another reason is that I'm rather cost conscious (my husband and I give ourselves each a certain amount of "allowance" each paycheck, and that's made me very careful about managing my personal spending money), so I enjoy knitting things like socks, hats, etc. in luxury fibers and brand names, since I feel like I'm getting the most "bang for my buck", and can therefore afford my expensive taste and fiber snobbery. If you notice two paragraphs above though, I do plan on starting a shawl, so we'll see how well that works out for me.

6) Along the same line of thought, if I feel like scrapbooking, I won't feel guilty about "trying to keep up" a huge, comprehensive book of my life (as I have in my World Before Knitting). I will be contented with tiny, creative little books, since that's what makes me the most happy. I will stash dive as much as possible, since it thrills me to no end to "make due" when I'm sewing or scrapping or making cards. I'm way more inventive when I "have" to use stash to make something work or get across an idea.

7) I would love to learn how to card wool. However, my wrists are a little bit stressed from all of the obsessive crafting, so hand carders are a bad idea. Also, I'm all about speed, so a drum carder is the only way to go.

8) Unfortunately, I haven't finished paying off the credit card that I bought my wheel on, and I really need to focus on getting that taken care of. This is the only non-fun part of this list: I am going to pay that off before buying a drum carder. Of course, I may not be interested in a drum carder by the time that happens (pregnancy makes me do funny things), but regardless, I hate being in debt. I will attempt not to buy any new fiber or yarn before I pay the credit card off. I've already taken a big step towards that by paying a few hundred on the card this last billing period. It should take me a few more months to complete. If, however, a project needs more yarn than what I have, I might let myself buy more. All projects must start from the stash though.

9) One last thing, and this is pure fun. I intend to give myself more room for expanding my crafty language. I won't allow myself to feel tied down to any one thing. As much as I love to knit and spin, I won't let that get in the way of exploring other things. I would love to explore quilting a little bit...of course tiny, doll sized ones and quilted cards and such. Tiny all the way!

Here is some stash enhancement that happened in the month of December:

More fun to come!!

Check back in the next few days for a list of sites and podcasts that have challenged and inspired me creatively in the past year.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...