Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A New Spinner Is Born

Hi everyone out there in Cyberland.  What a great day it is.

You know, it is always hard for me to write up a blog post. Especially since I have not blogged on a very regular basis in such a long time.  I need to work on remedying that. So my posts won't feel so clumsy when I type them up.  Maybe that will be a goal in the upcoming year.

But today I'm not going to talk about goals though. I've been having fun with my Christmas present from my hubby.  This year he gave me a spinning wheel. Yay!

I've been wanting one and just couldn't see myself investing that much money into a wheel when I knew nothing about spinning. So a while back I did invest in a spindle and some fiber and started spinning on my spindle.

Well, I was out doing some searches one day and found a very affordable beginner spinning wheel.  I forwarded the link to hubby, and what do you know, he gave it to me for Christmas.

It is absolutely gorgeous! It's the BlueBonnet BumbleeBee, from BlueBonnett Spinning Wheels.  A beginner wheel, perfect for a beginner like me.

So I've been practicing with the fiber I haven't spun on the spindle yet.  It will take me awhile to get a good feel for the wheel and what to do and how to get better at spinning but that's fine.  I know this will take me some time to do. But in the meantime I'm having fun with it.  The fiber is Ewephoric Fibers that I purchased way back in the spring when I went to the Carolina FiberFest.

Look at this picture I snapped last night.  it's the fiber spun up on my spindle and the same fiber spun on my new wheel. Not much as far as yardage goes. A thick and thin ratio.  But it will make a lovely accent for something wonderful.  I did purchase some worsted weight, dark blue Berroco Vintage to make hats and gloves or maybe a cowl and I want to use this as an accent to that blue. It'll be great.

Even though I haven't been spinning long, I can already tell that I'm going to love it.  I think it's safe to say, a new spinner is born!

Friday, October 24, 2014

And Sew On

Hi everyone! I hope this has been a great week for all.  I've had a pretty good one myself. There is always so much to do and so little time it seems like.  However, when I reflect back on the week, I feel like I've accomplished a good bit.

I finished one of my works in progress (WIP) and it looks even better than I hoped. Yay!  I also knitted some on my Happy Street shawl this week, which makes me happy as well.  Making progress.

But the thing I think I'm the most excited about is my sewing.  Awhile back, I ran across some Christmas themed fat quarters at Hobby Lobby.  Now, I have to admit, I've acquired some fabric stash over the years.  Not a lot because well, let's face it, I'm not a great sewer. But I do love a nice looking piece of fabric.  So when I came upon the Christmas fabric, I bought it.

That fabric has been in sitting in my fabric bin for almost a year.  Awhile back I made an attempt at sewing some project bags for my knitting projects with "meh" success. They were not awful, but certainly not what I would call good, quality bags.  And I really wanted to sew a nice bag.

So, I after my first attempt at sewing some bags I did what many other in my shoes would have done, I turned to social media.  I jumped on the Pinterest train and starting seeking out project bag patterns.

There were many.  Some more difficult than others. Some just right out of my novice comfort zone.  But all superduper cutearific!

As much as I loved all the bags I saw, the patterns to create those bags seemed a little bit, who am I kidding, a whole lot overwhelming.  Kind of like the first time I looked at a knitting pattern.  So I kind of just put my bags on the back burner again. With all my super cute fabric wasting away.  Which is a pretty sad thought, right?

Luckily, I found fresh mojo when I saw the super cool fabric and images via Instagram that Jasmine from the Knitmore Girls podcast was making for her projects.  I was compelled to follow the link she provided to this super neato tutorial on the In Color Order blog.

After reading through the steps, I hopped right to it.  I already had my precut fat quarters and since I'm in the middle of knitting Christmas goodies and Christmas socks, I decided they needed a perfectly cute Christmas project bag to nestle in.  So I got to work.

As I mentioned, I'm not a good sewer, but I do think there's hope of me becoming a better sewer with practice.  And since I am in love with these project bags, I can see myself practicing a lot in my near future.

This is my first finished bag. It is quite roomy.  I have two one skein projects down in there. I'm loving it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Year From Stash

When this year started, I told myself that I was going to spend most of the year knitting projects from my yarn stash as opposed to going out and buying more yarn.  In other words, I took stock of the yarn I already owned and then looked for projects that excited me based on that yarn instead of finding a gorgeous pattern and then running out to find the perfect yarn for the project.

By focusing on finding the perfect project for yarn I already owned, I've greatly reduced my stash this year.  I am very proud of myself for doing this.  Now that's not to say I have not bought yarn this year.  But I have bought more wisely and mostly with a specific project in mind.

Another perk to knitting from my stash this year is I have used up a lot of left over and partial skeins. Bonus!

I've actually finished nine projects using stash yarn this year.  One is a pattern design that I'm working on and hope to release soon.  In addition to these nine projects, I have four more WIP's using stash yarn! Whoop-Whoop!

One thing that makes me pretty happy about this whole knitting from stash this year thing is that I actually used my very oldest skein of yarn.

Nummy Bunny was a huge hit with my daughter who now wants me to knit her all the animals. She loves Nummy.

Nummy Bunny is a free pattern from Red Heart Yarn.

Although, I used Cottontots by Bernat in the Dollhouse colorway. You can mix it up and use all kinds of fun colors to knit her up.  She is so lovely and fun.

I can't wait to knit my next stuffy. Who will it be?

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Bucket List Thing

Well howdy out there!  I know.  I know. It's been awhile. Again.  Sorry. I will strive for better posting.  In fact, I'm making a date with myself to at least get out a biweekly post.  I have a lot of things to say; so even if I just say them to myself, they will at least get said. Right?

I have been so very busy, and I know that's not a real excuse because everyone is busy.  However, when you get caught up in life, time slips by so fast that you hardly even realize how much time has past since your last post. That's kind of where I am.  It's not that I don't want to post.  It's more like, I think I just posted last week and it was actually months ago. YIKES!

So I am truly sorry.  Like I said, I've actually decided to add a calendar reminder to write blog post. Yes indeed.  I think that will make things much more routine and regular.

Speaking of routine and regular, I also think having a more regular blog posting will push me along in my journey of marking off an item from my Bucket List.  For you see, I have wanted to do a podcast for some time now.  I start making progress towards actually doing one and something always gets in the way.  Well, I think now that I'm actually putting it out there that I want to do this, I will be much more likely to make it happen.  What do you think?

Now, the podcast will be a knitting/craft related podcast.  Because that's where my hobbies lie mostly. Even though I love to cook, and I want to spend more time honing my photography skills. Those might be good topics to keep to this blog.  We'll see how that goes.  In the meantime, I've been batting around a few names for the podcast.  I've looked and I can't see where any of these titles have been taken so that's good.  I just need to decide on one.

Then again, That Tess Girl: Just Chatting it Up, has been a thought as well.  By that I mean I have also thought about turning this blog into a Vlog. So many options to ponder.

However, for now, I am going to post this to the blog so I can say that I have successfully posted a post.

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A New First

I have a new first!  My very first handspun skein of yarn!

Can you believe it?!  It's not perfect but I love it. Very thin and then chunky in places!  Still, it's my first!

I'm already thinking of what projects I want to use for this

The roving was 1 oz of an 80% Merino 20% Tussah Silk.  It spun up nice and quick.  And I think I was starting to get the feel for the process there at the end. I spun using the drop spindle I purchased from LaTeaDa Designs a few years ago.

I'm really excited to use this now.  But first it's in the finishing process (wash and dry to set the spin {I'm learning so much!}).  Even though it's not ready for knitting yet, I can start contemplating what I want to use it with.  I only got roughly 45 yards.  For my first try, I was impressed I got that much.  So do I make a small critter like the Bluebird of Happiness, or use it as an accent on a hat or shawl? Decisions...

Monday, April 7, 2014

From the Stash

So this year started off as a stash down, sort of, kind of year.  I made a deal with hubster that since he agreed to take me to the Carolina FiberFest (which was this  past!) that until we go I would not buy new yarn.  Instead, I would work out of my stash and then stock up at the festival. 

I'm proud to say that with a few minor exceptions, yarn for a few hats (two of which will be for him), I have done that.

Below are photos are each project I've worked or am working that have all been knit from my stash so far this year.

First: I'm currently knitting a pair of Hermione's Everyday Socks.  I modified them to knit toe up and used a Fish Lips Kiss Heel.  I love this pattern and the heel. This will be a very favorite heel, I can already tell after one heel.  I'm knitting these using Happy Feet yarn.  I'm not sure of the colorway but it is very lovely! I know I'm going to call them my crushed gingerbread house socks.  I got this my head one day while looking at the yarn and it's stayed with me ever since.

I also knit Tin Can Knit's Barley hat for myself.  I love this hat.  It is their Simple Collection of patterns.  This is an ebook of eight fantastic, beginner patterns but there really is nothing beginner about the look of the patterns.  They are awesome. Fast and easy and they look great.  I knit this using some Impeccable yarn I'd picked up last year for my daughter's pumpkin hat.
I also purchased the ebook Summer Memories by Georgie Hallam.  This ebook contains four patterns of mother-daughter matching cardigans. I love them and plan on knitting all four. For the first two, Carousel and Summer Carnival, I'm using Knit Picks' Simply Cotton sport weight.  I purchased this yarn quite a while back when they discontinued the colorway. But I do love it.  This one is my daughter's sweater.  Mine is still on the needles and I'm hoping for a matching set by Mother's Day.  I was originally aiming for Easter but I still have a way to go on mine.

So next, is a matchy-matchy pair of socks for me and my daugher.  I love these stripped socks.  This is a basic toe-up sock using Paton's Kroy Sock yarn in the blue stripe ragg colorway. They are so awesome.  I love them.

Whew, are we done yet?  Well, almost.

I have also cast on using stash yarn the Follow Your Arrow lace shawl by Isolda Teague.  I have not made very good progress on this shawl because I am one of those types of knitters who has to be in the right frame of mind to knit lace.  And apparently I wasn't when I started this one the first five times. So, yeah, not that far along.  I will work on it here and there as I want a lace fix. Still, I am knitting this from stash yarn, Cascade 220 Fingering weight in a red and teal.  It is very pretty so far.

And finally! I cast on a tunic style sweater for my daughter.  This one is called Strimma by Yarn-Madness (aka Madeliene Nilsson). I'm using some Knit Picks Dishie in a red and eggshell.

So, that about sums up what I've knit from or am knitting from stash this year.  I think. As I knit along I will post more of my stash down 2014 progress.

However, in my next post, I'll most likely talk about about the Carolina FiberFest and what enhancements to the stash were made there. :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

So Much Goodness

Back in the fall, the hubster and myself went on a long weekend getaway to Blue Ridge, GA.  We had so much fun that we went back the weekend after Thanksgiving and took our daughter with us.  This is such a wonderful town and scenic part of Georgia.  If you haven't been I would highly recommend. There is so much wonderful things to do.

While we were there we visited Mercier Orchards.  What a wonderful place.  On our first visit, I purchased a small jar of Bunch O' Berries Jam.  Well, that didn't last long. Oh my word at how much goodness had been squeezed into that tiny little jar.

So when we went back in November, I thought, yeah, I've got this figured out.  This time I'm getting the big jar!  Well, the big jar did last longer. But sadly not as long as I'd like.  Between me and the Wee One, that stuff was gone fast.

Thankfully, a friend of hubster has family in Blue Ridge and went for a visit.  This kind soul brought me back, count them, three big jars! Oh yeah. That's right!Now we're enjoying this yummy goodness again and this time, maybe, it will last until our next trip to the orchard!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Making it Happen

Hi there! It is hard to get back in the swing of things. I'm working on it.  And sometimes I think to myself what in the world can I post about and I think I have a great idea and then I can't seem to find the time to get out on the blog to actually post it.  So I'm making a deal with myself, no pressure posting but at least post a couple times a week. And see where it leads.

So that's what I'm doing.  I'm making it happen!

And you know, really it's like exercise.  You have to make the time for it because there is never enough time.

Here's the thing. I have some big plans I want to execute on and in order to do that I have to have a real plan, and I believe keeping up with regular posts on this blog are really going to help me execute on those other plans. So watch out world! LOL!!

Now. With all that being said, what in the world am I going to post about today? I'm going to post about socks! Yes! That's right. Socks.  Knitting socks in fact.

You see, I knitted my first pair of socks about.... four years ago.  My lys (local yarn store) had a sock a month a few years back where they featured a pattern and yarn and treated it like a Knit-A-Long with prizes for those who completed the socks within the time frame.  I really wanted to like knitting socks. But.... I did not. Using those double pointed needles was the worst thing EVER. So I decided I would never knit another pair of socks again.

After a while though, a friend kept telling me I needed to learn magic loop and knit socks that way.  I thought she was crazy.  Because how could any method make knitting socks fun? I resisted for a long time until I got a bug to knit these incredibly cute little Owl Puffs. In order to make these fun little guys, I learned magic loop.  And guess what? I liked it!

Once I'd made a few Owl Puffs and then using magic loop to finish off a couple of projects I really liked the magic loop.

This new found enjoyment of a new to me knitting method, combined with my epic project of knitted my family Christmas Stockings, which are just really large socks, I decided to give sock knitting a second chance.  Who would have ever thought, certainly not me, that I would now be addicted to knitting socks. Since the Fall, I've made five pairs of socks with number six on the needles.  One other thing I'm enjoying is learning heels.

I will write up another post on socks and actually include pictures in that one.  If I can figure out how to do that.  My. My. How things change when you're not around for awhile. So yeah.  I will have to relearn the upload and adding of photos.  In the meantime.  Yay! I posted!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Well, It Took Awhile

Well.....  It took me longer to work my way back to the blog than I originally thought. December and the first half of January were an emotional roller coaster rides for me and my family and things just didn't go as planned.  So I'm giving myself a big break on the bloggy thing.

Still, I have been wanting to do more journaling of day to day things and my hobbies and crafts and just life in general. So I will try to post more often.

With that being said.  I have goals I plan to set for myself for 2014.

First - Be more Spiritual. Faith is important to me and I need to spend more time focusing on it.

Second - Spend more time on me.  I hardly ever spend time on me. I need to pamper myself more often.

Third - Enjoy my family time more. It's important to make memories.

Fourth - Be more active. Speaks for itself I think.

Fifth - Be more creative.

Those are kind of general, but still good none the less.