Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Status report

  • On my needles: Longies. Still. Yes, taking a back seat to spinning. Apparently this isn't uncommon in new spinners.

  • On my spindle: Working on my third spinning project. A natural colored coopsworth wool in brown. finished one single and I'm going to try to do two more to make a three ply.

  • On my nightstand: Color in Spinning, Hold Onto Your Kids

  • Screentime: Kung Fu Panda got some serious play when my son was sick and I didn't immediately get totally sick of it. Probably my favorite Dreamworks movie to date; they aren't batting very well in my park.

  • In my garden: Nothin! Well nothing that I'm involved in. I'm sure it keeps doing what nature intended for it to do.

  • In my studio: I recently made a little bag for the bleggingway. I love simple little pretty sewing projects.

  • In the kitchen: Made some plain ordinary choco chip cookies recently, didn't even use whole grains, but nothing to blog about (oops, too late)

  • This and that: For the blessingway, a friend and I made these paraffin luminaries in blue and white. That was fun.

Let's Try This...

So I had this bone deep realization the other day that my days are numbered. Perhaps its part of being a mother, but I think it was the first time that I applied it to my craft production. I think I was bemoaning the fact that I wasn't getting much done. Sort of, a poor me, attitude. When I realized I will never get it all done. Ever. And that was a bit liberating. And a bit trying. And somehow appropriate. I mean if you got all your crafting done, that means you ran out of ideas, which means alot, alot alot.

I've always considered myself a more process oriented person, but realized there is room for improvement on that front. As the year winds down and I start thinking about next year and beyond, I realize there are areas of my world where I would like to spend more time (*cough* zafu *cough*) and that there are so many hours in the day. More crafting isn't going to get me any closer to ... what exactly? But less doing and more being? Well, that sounds about right. Challenging, to be sure, but right.

So, I thought I would try out a periodic status report of hobby goodness, like I used to have on the sidebar, but then removed because it wasn't tied into rss feeds, and then I was going to make it into a blog entry, but sorta forgot, because i get caught up in "oh it needs a photo" perfectionist thinking. So the form might look a little like this and quite possibly won't have photos, but it will be quick to update (good when you don't know how long you have at the computer before your little one wakes up) and I think I will enjoy seeing what I've made and things I've read or eaten. It satisfies the former (now mostly gone) list maker in me, but the focus is on what's happening now - not is it a FO or not AND not what still needs to be done.

  • On my needles: (this is for knitting)
  • On my spindle: (this is for yarn I'm spinning)
  • On my nightstand: (books I'm reading)
  • Screentime: (movies, tv and videogames)
  • In my garden: (current projects, ongoing maintenance, and what the veggies are up to)
  • In my studio: (sewing projects)
  • In the kitchen: (things i'm planning on or recently made)
  • This and that: (misc crafting that's probably not a regular feature)

So, I'll try to update this when I can and count my breaths when I can and share with you, at least one little photo series for this post. Yes, I started spinning. Coopsworth into a single which I hope to make into a three ply.

Photo Essay

2 Ply
I'm having a hard time to find time to work on my hobbies let alone blog about them. So here are a few of photos to show that I haven't totally been slacking in the creating/enteraining myself department (all the laundry I do because my LO has the stomach flu apparently doesn't count). Many of the photos are related to a blessingway at my house but I can't take credit for the beautiful belly mehndi.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Keeping The Momentum

Short on writing, but I have a few photos to share of the season! First up, made my first cheesecake - pumpkin pie flavored. It was a flop. I'm not sure why, but I think it was in too small a pan and so didn't setup in the middle. I will try, try again when I get the chance.
Pumpkin Cheesecake

Some lovely things happening in my garden. My parsley (a biennial) is going to seed. Very pretty. I just realized I should pick some for the house. I like the wildness of the vegetable garden gone to seed. Plus its supposed to be good for beneficial insects of which I need plenty of help (notice the caterpillar on my cabbage?)
Parsley Flowers

And finally holiday festivities!
Aghhh! My Eye!

Jack O' Lantern Does the Polka Dot

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Where to start?

Its been so long since I've blogged that I'm not sure where to start. We've had an illness that kept me occupied and lots of crafting. Hrmm, do I craft or do I blog about crafting? I do like to journal about what I'm doing, but when time gets pinched too thin, the blogging gets the short stick, unfortunately.

Going to town

I've made slow progress on the garden. When I put it that way it doesn't sound too great. But when I saw I've made slow PROGRESS on the garden, well, that sounds much nicer. I'm still trying to get four garden beds in order - that means all lined with hardware cloth to keep gophers our and then put in drip irrigation (currently on overhead sprinkler) and then plant a cover crop (probably, fava beans). And that will probably take several more months at my current rate. But I'm ok with that since progress tends to be made in fits and starts. I got two beds planted with veggies this year. The first one did well despite the fact that I crammed everyone and their sister into it. We harvested some very fine potatoes from it. Beautiful, almost iridescent purple potatoes. We shared the harvest with friends and it was delicious.

Purple Potatoes

However, the second bed despite being planted with cabbage, chard, spinach, lettuce and cilantro, I've decided to call a moratorium on harvesting from it. Why? I was getting frustrated with protecting it - protecting it from squirrels digging it up, caterpillars devouring the cabbage, the dog meandering through and little toddler hands full of good intentions "replanting" all the seedlings, not to mention the regular weeding and fertilizing that needed to happen. So I'm going to revisit the plot next year when said toddler is a little older and I get some sort of above ground varmint protection put it.


It actually feels quite good to reach this decision. I started the garden over a year ago and progress has been slow but measurable. However, I was starting to feel the pressure to keep things maintained and to keep food coming in. The pressure to not fail, but still fearing the caterpillar and the dog messing everything up! But the wonderful thing that has happened to me since becoming a mother is the ability to not be such a perfectionist. I love knowing that I can say, "ok, enough for this season" and then knowing that I'll pick up right where I left off (minus that pile of weeds that's accumulated) in January (or February or March). Its amazing how you can give something up (paralyzing perfectionism) and in the process somehow get ahead (in the long view).

Going to seed

Saturday, September 27, 2008

In the studio

Sewing Radar
Here's what's going down downstairs these days. My first attempt at quilting, and, no, its not a blanket. I'm not sure its going to turn out, so I'm afraid to publicly declare what it's going to be. But I was happy with the turn of events around fabric selection. I was going for the brownish plaid but didn't have enough and had picked up the corduroy cowboy on a whim, and then I needed a lot of fabric for the quilted part. A thrifted yellow flowered sheet from my stash worked out well, I think. A bit kitschy, but in a fun way (yes, its for my son - does that excuse me?). I know I declared my love for patterns in an earlier post, but I'm flying solo on this one and keeping my fingers crossed that it will turn out ok. I'm fighting a bug now so just keeping it mellow for the time being. Maybe I'll finish it next month.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Knitting Urge

I've knit very very little since the end of August. Like maybe 200 stitches. Because I've been focusing my hobby time on sewing. And I'm making progress on that front. But I find myself missing knitting. The more I do it, the more I realize its so incredibly relaxing. Sorta like yoga. The repetition. The rhythm. The way you don't have to think about it and can let your mind wander or instead be calm and mindful.

New Knitting Mag

Somewhere on one of the (too) many blogs that I read, and I don't remember where so I can't give props, someone mentioned that Debbie Bliss has a knitting mag out now. I found the premier issue (Fall/Winter) when I was at Jo Anne's picking up some plaid flannel for a sewing project. I've purchased an Interweave magazine once and was pretty disappointed (lots of boring sweaters) so I wasn't sure whether I should spend the $7.95 for it. I'm glad I did! It has lots of things that I'm excited about. Now mind you my knitting queue is full all the way through January, but I can dream can't I? Here's what caught my eye.


Itsy Bitsy Sweaters

Easy Lace

Monday, September 22, 2008

Screen Time

We've gotten two new video games going in the house. Unusual I know considering how long we've been playing Warcraft. The first is the final/actual/non-beta release of Warhammer Online (very confusing with Warcraft talk in our house I know). We only got one copy since I don't have much time to play. I've started a zealot on Mr. Thystle's account and its only level 5 or so.
The other game is Spore. You get to create a life form and guide it through the evolutionary process. Its a bit like 5 games in one depending on which stage you're at. Single celled animal, multi-celled animal, tribal animal, etc. Here's my first creation - Bob (not so creative on the names, sorry). Having fun exploring worlds and making critters.

Friday, September 19, 2008

September Sewing

So as I was finishing up THE sweater, I decided that I was too far behind in sewing and decided that I should make September all about sewing. It turns out that its National Sewing Month. How appropriate is that!
Waistband Detail

Back Pocket Details

Also, fortuitously Oliver + S came out with their Fall line which includes some little boy clothes! Yeah! Not a huge selection - a pair of pants plus instructions for making freezer paper design on a t-shirt, and a unisex pair of pajamas. I got both sets of patterns. I did the pants (sandbox pants) for H. I love, love, love them. I love working from a pattern. My mind is too discombobulated to concentrate on sewing without a pattern. I also made a little drawstring type of bag for my sister to put her clothes pins in and I messed up something as simple as that. So, yes, patterns are good for my current state of mind. The pants have both elastic and drawstring (love that combo) and the pockets are lined with contrasting fabric as is the waistband. The lined pockets are nice but you can't see them so getting fancy with the fabric patterns probably isn't necessary. I used a pair of my old beloved pajama bottoms as fabric. I ripped them at the crotch beyond repair so ripped the seams and reused the panels. They were from the Gap and the tag said they were from Holiday '01 line. They even have little red paint stains from when we painted our office "confederate red" (doesn't everyone paint their house in their pajamas?) . I love the fact that my son's pants have these little reminders of were they came from. And lastly I wanted to beam with pride that I did my first buttonholes as well. Read the manual and went to town. Easy peasy! I loved how they turned out - they look so comfortable. However, the sizing might be a bit off. The inseam seemed a bit short. I made the size 2. Also, H recently moved out of diapers much to my surprise, so the crotch is very low because rise is too big, as is all of his pants now. I haven't tried the pants on him with a diaper so they might be too short once the rise is accounted for. Here are some photos with H wearing them out and about at the aquarium.
Bopping His Head on the Tunnel

Pants Pockets

Finished Pants

Cuff Detail

Back of Pants

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Finished Sweater

Picking Parsley

It's done! My very first sweater. It turned out great. Very big, but I was sorta anticipating that. I had no idea how long it would take me and was afraid if it ran small the size 2 wouldn't fit him. This is the next size up - a four and seems to be true to size so he might be able to wear it in 12 months or so. I was a little afraid that the sleeves wouldn't fit right, but I think I was able to ease it ok and it doesn't seem to look too bad. I used a machine to attach the snap tape and that was a bit difficult so my stitches aren't very straight. So don't look too closely there. Also, the yarn is the kind of cotton that is grown naturally in different colors so no dying it. However, there was some variability on either different batches of the yarn (dye lots if you will) so that one of the sleeves looks beiger next to the greenish body of the sweater. Oh well, I don't think its terribly noticeable. I don't know if I'll do cotton again. I figured I would use cotton so I could machine wash it, but after spending all this time on it, I'll probably hand wash it anyways. And the cotton is so heavy and tends to sag. We'll see how this one wears as well. But overall I'm ready to cast on the next sweater, but will probably wait until after the holidays before I tackle anything.

Sweater Back

Sweater Collar and Shovels


Sweaters For Gardening

Sweater Front

Sunday, September 14, 2008



When I got to the point in knitting my sweater where I needed to do the finishing work like blocking and seaming but I still wanted to keep knitting and purling, I cast on this pattern called Scaruffle. I messed up on it big time somehow. Its knit tightly on small needles and then you knit through the front and back of every stitch to double the number of stitches to make the ruffle and then switch to larger needles to make it fluffy. Then you do short rows to make the nice beveled edges. Somehow when I was doing kfb I got turned around. So half of the scarf that wasn't done doing kfb has no ruffle and half that was kfb twice has way too much ruffle. Its in kidsilk haze, which was lovely to knit on the large needles and torture on the small needles but impossible to frog. So its going to remain a very lopsided Scaruffle. I think I'll toss it into the little guys dress up box. I know 18 months is still a little young for a dress up box, but you gotta start on it sometime.

Scaruffle Detail


Friday, August 1, 2008

Baby Booties

I'm still working on my first sweater. Its coming along, but slowed down by sickness and a baby that isn't inclined to go to bed early. However, I have a friend that's 36 weeks pregnant and we had a tea in her honor earlier this week. So I quickly whipped up a pair of baby booties. It's my first attempt at them and they are easy and quite satisfying to pull off. The pattern is a freebie: Perfect Baby Booties (sorry Ravelry link - you've signed up already, no?). It was an interesting knit, since I was in a hurry and couldn't really figure out how they were constructed in my quick read through. So I just cast on and started knitting. They are knit in the flat with the seam going down the back of the sock and through most of the sole. There is shaping in the toe of the sole and then short rows on the instep/stockinette portion. I used Rowan Cotton Wool a 50/50 blend of cotton and merino wool. Apparently mixing animal and plant fibers is not all that common, but in theory its supposed to give you the best of both worlds - the warmth and resilience of wool and softness and washability of cotton. Fun and I'm sure I'll be trying some more booties (you know who you are!).
Baby Booties