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A Yarn Refresher of Sorts

30 Jun

This has been quite a month. One would think after all the moving that I would have a down month – psych!

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What would be a travel trip without some yarn bombing?

Though the highlight of my June were the four days and three nights I spent in Bermuda! It was seriously life-changing. I went on my own because none of my friends could get their calendars to sync a good time when we could go. I decided I wouldn’t let something like that keep me from a tropical holiday. BEST IDEA EVER!

I had such a fun time meeting people, hanging out with locals and enjoying the beauty. But I also learned a lot about myself. The biggest thing was that I used my crafting as an excuse not to go out and do more adventurous things. That might read really weird, but when I thought about it more, it made sense.

The only people I hung out with were from my church or were part of a craft group. There’s nothing wrong with that, truly, but it wasn’t the only thing I wanted to do with my free time but what I thought I should be doing. I’ve always tried to live my life as a “good” person and I thought part of that meant living in this box. I realized good people can have fun dancing, go on adventures, not worry about every little action and just have FUN!

I’m still doing my yarn work but I’m not as focused on it. It occurred to me that part of the reason I was so “obsessed” was I was trying to keep my anxiety in check. Not worried anxiety, it turns out, but antsiness because I was telling myself I was having fun and that wasn’t always the case.

Don’t get me wrong, I love knitting and crochet and how my mind can work on a project and make a beautiful creation, but it doesn’t need to be such an intentional distraction. I think when we love, or think we love, something it’s good to take a step back and analyze why we are so dedicated. Yarn crafting will always be a part of my life, just not as busy work anymore.

Yarn on,
-Stacy C

Moving and the Yarn Blues

31 May

Well, Dear Reader(s, in my dreams),

The last few weeks have been a heck of a ride! Since my last post, I was offered, accepted, packed up, moved two states (and a district) south, unloaded my stuff and started a new job!

If you’re the least bit confused, don’t be. Things at my last job came to this weird stand still in late March. In mid-April, I started a job interview process. It was kind of crazy how everything happened and how quickly they needed me. I’m happy I took the job and I’m living in a place I’ve wanted to for a long time.

A little over half done. Clearly, I still have work to do.

A little over half done. Clearly, I still have work to do.

The only thing about this move is that my knitting time is drastically cut into. My commute is an extra 1.5 hrs. Not bad considering it’s all on public transportation. Problem is, I’m getting used to taking said public transportation. I’m not used to all the travel and still have to pay attention to make sure I get off in a timely manner – and at the right stop – whilst knitting/crocheting. I’m currently only knitting a little bit at night. I can totally tell the difference in my mental health. I’m not as chill nor content. The plus side is I’m reading like a fiend because I can do that easier standing than knitting.

I need time to adjust and get situated, but I’m quite annoyed at how my creative world has turned upside down. Best part out of this whole move is my new LYS is Fibre Space! That’s right, the place I wrote about has become my new yarn home!!! (Lots of exclamation marks are needed for this portion of my story.) The only thing keeping me from visiting so much is my inability not to overspend and my recent moving price tag has drained all my funds.

Planning my Bermuda trip (for reals),
-Stacy C.

Knitting (and Crocheting) in the Unlikeliest of Places

30 Apr

I don’t really get International Knit in Public Day. Yarn-crafting in public is my life, EVERY day. I do it all the time, almost obsessively, because I don’t like to feel as if I’m wasting time. I knit in waiting rooms, watching TV, traveling, exercising, everywhere. Yes, I knit working out.

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I even figured out how to talk and take a picture of me holding knitting. I’m pretty BA.

It’s really not hard to do provided you take a few precautions. Can you walk and talk at the same time? Then you can knit and walk at the same time! I figured out how to do this earlier in the year when I made the resolve to get more fit. The only way to make my fat butt go to the apartment workout space was to let myself continue knitting while in motion. Before compromising with myself I would say, “After this row,” “When I get to the next section I will stop and work out.” This made it really hard to move it, move it, over to the building of physical fitness because let’s face it, I didn’t want to stop. After a few blah attempts to work out and the excruciating “wait” on the machines (you know, where you check the digital timer every 7 seconds because you desperately hope it’s been 20 minutes on the treadmill?), I told myself I could knit on the treadmill. I started out walking on a speed of 2.0-2.3 mph, really fast at all. To compensate not going so fast (but I was ok with that because at least my “fat butt” was moving) I put the incline at nine. I eventually can get up to 2.7 mph if doing a really simple knitting stitch.

I felt pretty proud of myself for figuring out how to get through the boring knitting rows when doing a sweater or repetitive pattern and at the same time getting through the painful act of exercise. I felt like a knitting ninja when I figured out how to do my circular entrelac on the treadmill. Additionally, I successfully experimented in other attempts to push through the workout blues and figured out how to knit while doing crunches, bollywood-style knee bounces, leg lifts and wall sits. I’ve also heard of other knitters crafting while working out on a stationary bike (I don’t have access to one) with good results.

One of the biggest things I can’t stand doing is sitting still for stupid award dinners, especially ones that rival the Oscars in time sucking and matter even less. Well, one of my professional duties is sucking it up and going to one every year. Last year, I crocheted under the table. This year, I’m going to work on I-cord for a necklace. Not visualizing it? Imagine this: sitting on one of those tables right next to the stage at the table of a “VIP” with my hands under the table linen doing I-cord. Another ninja skill – knitting without looking. If I’m gonna be a prisoner, I’m gonna make the most of it!

If you wonder how I get all that knitting time in, it’s because I make time in the most unlikely places getting through stuff and doing what I want to do. Rocking life.

“Stacy, out” *drop the microcphone*,
-Stacy C.

It’s all Fun and Games until Someone Loses a Scarf

7 Apr

My “Fairy White”

Easter has come and gone and I’m updating you on some tom-foolery that oddly involves yarn and handmade items. Some of you know about my super awesome Black Friday experience at Fibre Space. It was the first time I’d ever woken up at 4 a.m. to go out and shop–but it was for yarn, so totally acceptable. I could have sworn I had written a post, but you tend to be a little delirious when you’re reliving a half-awake life experience.

Anyway, the only thing I had bought for myself at that wonderful yarn sale were two skeins of Spud and Chloë, Outer in sandstone. It was so beautiful, super bulky and perfect for the Vite Cowl I had wanted to make for a while. It was also my sanity project hanging out with my parents over Christmas. I wore that thing all the time because it was the perfect color of off white… You get the idea, I loved that scarf and we had a history.

Well, this Easter I went back down to D.C. to hang out with some awesome people. We decided on Good Friday to go out and have some dinner, hangout at a sports bar, and then go to this crazy weird club. Things were going all well and fine until we got to the club. Let’s just say the night got NC17 REAL fast with some of the shenanigans going on in there!

I won’t shock you with too many details but I can tell you I experienced a co-ed bathroom for the first time. I didn’t know it was one until I went in there. I rolled with it, but was SO confused for a good minute. When we went onto the techno floor all the bartenders were shirtless, but when you went up to the bar to order a drink it turns out, they were ONLY IN BOXER BRIEFS (that deserves all caps for the shock it gave me)! We decided to stay and dance, making coat check and ideal solution for our stuff. I put my lovely scarf into the sleeve of my sweater (stupid move). When we were ready to leave I got my coat back and we walked out into the night. No one puts their coat on right when they get out of a club you’re hot and sweaty and… stuffs. When we got onto the metro, I realized MY SCARF WAS GONE (also, deserving of caps)!

I was crushed. I had no idea it would just disappear. I tried calling the club the next night, but you had to go in to claim anything and I was leaving the next day. An acquaintance when down to see if they could find anything but never go back to me. I can only hope my beautiful scarf found a new loving home. Tear*

My new “precious”

After that travesty, we headed to Alexandria and–obviously–I went to my favorite D.C. haunt (Fibre Space if you haven’t figured it out by now). I consoled myself with some Capital Luxury Lace by Neighborhood Fibre Co., in Victorian Village. It goes great with a ton of my spring and summer wardrobe. I also bought some Spud and Chloë sweater in sandstone. I decided the thinner yarn would be better for wearing in warmer months. The new Spud and Chloë inspired a design that I’m working on with owls. If I had to lose my scarf, I found a great way to try and get over the pain.

Back to my Hogwarts Express Special, -Stacy C.

Making it to the BIG TIMES!!!

6 Mar

Some of you might remember my post about the man-sock from Ravallenics 2012 recap. I have BIG NEWS!

But first, let me start at the beginning:

It was like any other crappy Monday. It started out mediocre and got bad, REALLY quickly. I needed a break and went onto Ravelry and had a message in my inbox. Who should the message be from but Patons Yarn?! What could they possibly want? WELL, they contacted me to let me know that MY sock was a completed project they wanted to feature on the pattern home page!!!!!

It took several hours for this to sink in. And after it did, I felt like the coolest kid on my sock knitting street. Are you basquing? You’re welcome :-p

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That’s me, the one on the bottom.

From this HAM sandwich to you,
-Stacy C.

March is Crochet Madness!

5 Mar

Hello my fellow crafters. Technically, March is craft month as well as crochet month. But on this blog, because I reign supreme, we’re going to celebrate crochet – and throw in some other crafty stuff for you whiners out there.

But to kick off this month, I want some audience participation. Yes, from YOU!

Imagine him pointing a paw at you

What, pray tell, could I be asking you to POSSIBLY do?

Give me ideas. If you think this journal has been missing something vital, or you need to know something badly, you want me to try something crazy cool (with yarn) or it’s just plain sucked in the past – make it better. Tell me what floats your boat or what needs to be happening and I will be more than happy to try things out.

Here’s the deal, I’m not lazy – usually. It’s just really hard to be creative in three different outlets and then sit down and write things out if I’m not even sure it’s what the people want. Now, mind you I’m not always worried, but I would like to make sure that the $26 a year I spend to write down my stuff isn’t lame and boring.

I have some stuff queued up for the coming month and think you will be pleasantly surprised I mean with a stash like this:

Stash beast

Stash beast

how could it be anything other than stellar? Or hilariously ridiculous.

Keep the brilliant ideas flowing, I need ‘em,
-Stacy C

 

Happy Anniversary!

29 Jan

Hello readers,

Today is a day of celebration because I realized (belatedly) that yesterday was the second anniversary for this blog! I feel like this anniversary means a little more than the last. Sure, it means we’re one year older; but it’s more about the longevity of this project and how far the owners of this online journey have come in the art of yarn making.

Yeah! Our Anniversary!

Here’s a few facts to show you how far our adventures have taken us: 59 posts (including this one) – a little more than one every other week (not bad for people with full-time jobs, hobbies and children of multiple species), over 7,000 visits to the site (you read that right), over 100 comments and many people occasionally tuning in to this little periodical.

I’m happy to write as many posts as I have, it would be more if I could occasionally be more motivated or pushed. What is written on this site is only a fraction of the fun and adventure we’ve had over the years and I’m thankful that some people find this space so interesting.

Two years is a good marker – longer than some marriages! Raise your cupcake and toast to fiber and happiness!

Mmm, cupcakes! (Vegan in my case.)

P.S. that is Susann’s picture I stole from the webs. She takes better pictures than I and I’m sure to hear about it later. This is what happens when I wait six months for a “I’m working on it” post :-p heheheeee…

Keep on creating,

-Stacy C.

Card Art of September

27 Sep

I don’t know what happened to August, but I only made like two cards and I still haven’t even taken pictures of them. But September was more fruitful in art production and I am sharing the view of the spoils. Now that I think of it, Ravallenics really did suck all my time and energy – being an “Olympian” is hard work.

Anyway, I hope you like my show of card wonderfulness. On the plus side I am getting better at reducing card making time. Lately, I’ve been going for a simplistic design template. I find that less is more when it comes to cards and those are the ones that take your breath away (typically). Also, I don’t like to spend a lot of time making cards because when I get around to making what I need it’s kind of deadline sensitive. I was able to make four cards in about 2 hours and I’m pretty proud of that timing. If you’ve ever made a card you know that coming up with the concept, color and tool coordination, adjustments (and there always are) then assembly takes time and 30 minutes is pretty dang good.

As you can tell by lack of posts, I 86′d the weekly card idea pretty quickly; but I was just so proud of my results I couldn’t tamp down the naive hope! Hope you enjoy the mini-show because this is all you’re getting for a while:

Sweater knitting is calling my name,
-Stacy C.

“November Knits” Book Party – the scoop

18 Sep

Fresh off the presses!

I had an amazing experience during my lunch break today and it wasn’t even with food! I went to the Knitter’s Edge, my favorite LYS, to check out the launch of “November Knits” by Courtney Kelley and Kate Osborne. It’s not yet in stores but is rolling out through the fall, you can get it on the Interweave Press’ Website. The book literally came off the presses yesterday and I got to go to the first book party!!!! (Squee with delight here.)

This was honestly the best meet the author experience I’ve had with a book talk. Not only did they tell us the story behind the making of this book, the authors for each of the patterns, the inspiration for the patterns, BUT also an in-depth about each yarn a project was made and yarn substitutes you could use. We saw every pattern sample from the actual pictures in the book!

It was a wonderful experience to have because how many times have you looked at patterns in a book and wanted to know more? What the author was thinking, why they did certain things with patterns? It was neat to get into the mind of someone making a book for something that matters so dearly to you.

If you’re into warm knitting, projects that take little to a lot of time, this is a wonderful book. There are a lot of techniques too, my head was swimming at all the different types of stitches and designs in the book. If you haven’t seen it, yet, check out this link. I honestly think there is something for every knitter in this book – and Kelbourne Woolens just rocks!

I’ve also come to love The Fibre Company yarns and made these lovely fingerless gloves (post coming soon) using “Road to China Light.” Oh, how wonderful their yarn is to pet, work with, and wear.

If you want to know more about the beautiful Kate Osborne and Courtney Kelley, you can always check out what they’ve created on Ravelry.

Back to my awesome knit up sweater on a dreary day,
-Stacy C.

Injured List = Awesomeness

17 Aug

Hello my fellow yarn freaks. Who rocked Ravellenics 2012?! I had a blast competing in my first Yarn Olympic Extravaganza and it will go down in the history books (for me).

I turned in FIVE projects! I had to modify submitting one of them, but I was really happy to earn four medals (I could have earned more if I had figured out the medal entry racket). BEHOLD! My lovely Yarn Olympic Entries!

You can check out all the patterns on my ravelry.com projects for the socks, white sweater, hooded sweater, hat and bag.

There was a lot of blood sweat and tears that went into these projects and I knitted like a MANIAC to get everything done. I actually thought I would finish the bag and have time to start a pair of socks for my dad. HA! Such big, naive dreams going into this; but I did accomplish a lot! In fact, I was “training” by knitting my Color Affection (bad ending, poor pattern construction – another post) and in my rush to finish it before the games, I gave myself tennis elbow. Yes, that’s right, I injured myself four days before the games. I mean, who gets TENNIS ELBOW by knitting? You would actually be surprised at the possibility when you don’t use stress relief tools.

THEN, on Tuesday before the games, I burned my left forefinger straightening my hair. Yep, I had an elbow injury and finger injury on the same arm, all three days before casting on. I was not happy. I couldn’t believe that I might be on the injured list! I took a little time to let it rest, but it most likely wasn’t long enough. I kept at it all during the two weeks and almost killed myself turning in the last of my projects on deadline day. It wasn’t because I had procrastinated, it was because I underestimated the time and effort it would take to heavily modify a pattern for pair of complex socks to fit a man’s size 12. I better get like 100 hits the first day for that post! Let’s just say, that they took a lot of math, research and brain work before and during the project process for the final product. Needless to say at the end of the games, my tennis elbow came back. Sigh* I gave it a day or two to rest, but yarn, it just calls to me. At least I’m not knitting/crocheting like my life depends on it anymore. But I will tell you what, if I was athletic as I am crafty Michael Phelps would eat my medal dust!

Off to play with my decadent plum variegated cowl,
-Stacy C

A Magical Yarn Creature

26 Jul

I was looking at a website about a luxurious yarn club (I was dreaming) and came across this information on Angora Wool, “Angora: Did you know that an angora rabbit will sit peacefully on your lap while you spin fiber right off of it’s back? I’ve seen this myself several times. Of course most commercial yarn is not processed so laboriously.”

Of COURSE I had to go on YouTube and “see” this for myself. Check it out:


A furry animal, sitting on your lap, while you make amazing luxurious yarn hanks?! I think it’s the perfect furry animal/yarn combo EVER. If collecting my dog’s hair was only so easy – and acceptable yarn texture. I often exclaim to my dog after vacuuming, “Where’s the Yeti you’ve been hiding while I’m at work?!” She doesn’t own up to it. She just stares at me with her “I love you, give me a treat?” eyes.

I want to knit with Angora now more than ever. Wait, instead of buying my own sheep for awesome yarn, I can buy a rabbit! (Bad idea music cue.)

Getting my tennis elbow in check for the Ravellenics,
-Stacy C.

A Little Card Art

20 Jul

I know I don’t normally post pictures of my other hobby (card making) on this blog. I did this one time last year, and didn’t really expect to again. BUT I’m kinda mad at the whole Facebook/Pinterest relationship being non-existent and I can’t Pin pictures from my FB picture uploads!!!!! (I’ve tried everything, I’ve Google searched everything, trust me, it can’t happen on a Mac.) Of course you can’t upload the photos to Pinterest, they have to be on a website. Well, I’m fixing that by making a post of gallery pictures of my greatest (in my mind) accomplishments. I figure you guys love colors and pretty things, you wouldn’t mind this disruption to our regularly scheduled programming. Take a look below and enjoy:

Take THAT Facebook/Pinterest! I think my gallery looks pretty great.

Back to working on Color Affection,
-Stacy C.

It’s all About the Pretty Pictures

26 Jun

Who doesn’t love a good movie, book with maps/diagrams and a photography coffee book? Well, I’ve become a lover of chart only patterns. Shocking, I know! When I first looked at knitting patterns, written and charts, and freaked out. How could I EVER decipher the code, knit, remember the code and make it look like the one picture to gauge if I’m making a pot holder or shrug?! It was stressful, but scarves in garter and purl got old REAL quick. I plunged into the written and got the hang of it quickly.

Chart vs. Word -either way looks awesome

For a while, it was word only patterns, then I dabbled in word and charts and only looked at the words. Entering the world of lace, I soon realized that the charts helped me see if I was knitting the pattern correctly, or screwing it up. “Well, what a helpful aid, I shall check it once in a while to ensure I’m not making a crooked tangle of yo’s.” But building my game to intermediate/advance lace, the patterns get complicated and sometimes are only charts. I was stressed out, it looked way overwhelming, couldn’t it just tell me in words? I got through it and my Springtime Bandit series took you through that journey. Next lace project I settled back into a 16 row lace pattern for a scarf, word only. And I have to say, I’m annoyed. I find I make more mistakes with word only then with chart. I determined it’s because it’s easier to fumble up the line/knit word you’re on than the rows. You can highlight the row, easier, you can see what it’s supposed to look like faster, you can even count cheat (where you just do, not worry about the exact number because you know the pattern visually).

I now prefer the pictures, the words are a helpful aid. It’s sort of funny how we evolve as children – hating peanut butter as a child, then craving it as an adult – and as “big people” even in the little parts of our lives. Check this out:

My road map to glory

This looks SO scary but it excites me! I think I might be an adrenaline junkie – maybe that’s what this really is all about. I see this crazy set of four charts and I can’t wait to tackle it. I feel like a conquerer having a battle map and I know that from my plan of attack, lace victory will be MINE!!!!! *Looks around, hears crickets* No? Anyone? The lady in the back! YES! Someone gets me!

Back to simultaneous lace project knitting,
-Stacy

Better Than an Amusement Park

23 May

Hello my fellow fiber lovers,

I know it’s been a while. I’ve had to work weeks on end with very few days off and that meant either my knitting/crochet suffered or the blog. I know you’ll understand why I chose the way I did. ;)

I decided to take a break and I just had to let you know how my first fiber “festival” went! It was a land of wool and yarn-ness. But before I get ahead of myself I have to tell you the company I kept was so GREAT! I went down with three other people from one of my local revelry meet-ups. Two guys and two girls. That’s right, GUYS went along (one was a man and woman married couple! Talk about mates for life :-D). It’s so great to have mixed company who love something as passionately as you do. I learned about the crochet “flip” (blog post soon about that one).

When we got there I was please at how many booths and different types of wares available. I was so over stimulated I kept walking around half finishing what I was saying and ping ponging between booths. It was quite humorous for my friends. We even met up with more people from our group who decided to spend a couple of days at the festival (I would have exploded).

The Score

If you ever get the chance to check out a fiber event, I highly encourage you to do so. It was a great atmosphere, I learned about a lot of great small yarn making companies, how yarn is made, how to make yarn AND there was more lamb than a Greek wedding! To be fair, not all the yarn I got from my excursion was for me. And in all of the yarn excitement, my group is doing a KAL (Knit-A-Long) this July. Stay tuned.

Working on my lace tutorial,
-Stacy C.

Mommy, Where do Skeins Come From?

3 May

We all wonder at one time or another, how a beloved skein makes its way to the coveted stash. Yes, we buy it and bring it home, but how does it become the thing of dreams and fixes?

I’ve been wanting to know for a while the whole process of how fiber becomes a yarn. I’ve thought about trying to convince History Channel’s “How it’s Made” to do a series on it (still, I just might). But in preparing for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, I became a little more knowledgeable about the whole thing.

Looking at the Green Mountain Spinnery, I came across this tour video: How Yarn Is Made. This is a much smaller operation than where I buy most of my yarn, yet it’s still insightful into the billion dollar a year industry.

While I don’t want to look at actual livestock during the festival (I mean, I DO have about 100 wool vendors to check out. I know my priorities!), I might pass by and thank the sheep for contributing their hairs.

Preparing for Yarn Day,
-Stacy C

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