Lazy afternoon housekeeping

Hey y'all, I updated the blogroll.  There were a few never updated blogs that I chose to remove and one that had moved to another site.  This isn't everything in my feed, but it's good enough for now.  

I've also switched up the layout around here, hopefully it's easier to find good things.  

Lastly, I'm hoping to have a logo and banner and possibly a new font designed with the help of a friend or two.  To gussy the place up a bit, so to speak.  


Year in Review

I want to blog again! I'm never really sure what to say, but I want to put my creativity out there somewhere in the world. I'm running the Reddit Cold Sheep Challenge this year.  It's basically a challenge that requires you use up as much of your yarn stash as possible.  I'm hoping this community will keep me energized and excited about crafting and being online.  

I sort of got burnt out with the blogging thing during the summer.  Life was busy, things were happening and I wasn't feeling very inspired to write about what I was making.  I'm hoping to post at least twice a month in 2016, but if that doesn't happen, I won't be upset. 

Anyway, here's  the roundup of what happened during the last six months of 2015. (left to right, top to bottom)

  1. We fostered KITTENS!
  2. I finished the world's largest herringbone cowl.
  3. Euphrates immediately claimed it.
  4. Tested out a wood burning camp stove.  It also burns alcohol.
  5. Cast on my first self striping sock yarn.  They turned out too tight and I had to rip, but they sure are pretty. 
  6. Fell deeper down the ramen hole.
  7. Rock formation exploration at Tettegouche State Park.
  8. Mom, Bella and I camped at my favorite state park near Finland, MN.
  10. I finished Stripe Study. 
  11. More self striping socks.  
  12. The whole pile of home dehydrated meals for our Motorcycle Trip!
  13. Good morning tent time.
  14. National Forest snack time in Idaho I think. 
  15. Knitting in the Tetons while breakfast cooks.
  16. Our sweet wheels.
  17. Moody Yellowstone.
  18. Jesse's super cute helmet face.
  19. Gorgeous and stinky colors.
  20. Glacier National Park.
  21. Baby turtle found while landscaping.
  22. First foray into mushrooming.
  23. Cast on Timberline for a dear friend. 
  24. New drying rack.
  25. To be published mitten pattern.
  26. My first yarn retreat with Sherry.
  27. Socks for a new retreat friend.
  28. Dungeons and Dragons resumes.
  29. Sherry and I see some metal.
  30. Venison.
  31. Dan and I make lefse over Thanksgiving.
  32. Jesse bought me a heavy duty serger and I'm a little intimidated.
  33. Gorgeous print and sock blockers also from Jesse.  

Hopefully you'll hear more from me later this month.  

Happy Knitting, Happy New Year, Happy Life.

Shaelyn for my Grandma

I've been spending a lot of time away from this blog lately.  Not because I don't like it here but because life has been happening very quickly around me.  I've switched jobs from selling motorcycles to working at a yarn shop part time and doing some landscaping part time.  The yarn shop is supposed to turn into full time work this fall.  I'm excited.  I'm mostly caught up with my sock knitting and have several finished things to show y'all. I just have to get photos after they're blocked.  

Today I want to show you the first true shawl I've knitted.  This is Shaelyn by Leila Raabe.  I knit it in Madeline Tosh DK in the color way Winter Wheat even though the pattern calls for a sport weight yarn.  (This yarn is amazing, and I have nothing but good things to say about it.) I also added several pattern repeats so I could use up more of the skeins.  I am really pleased with how it turned out.  Grandma seemed to like it too, and it goes well with all of her blue stuff/wardrobe.  Here is a link to the project on Ravelry. 

Anyway, on to the photos....

Yarn Exchange!

RedditGift's Yarn exchange happened this spring and I got some beautiful scraps for my hexipuff blanket as well as a gorgeous hand-dyed sock yarn for  my sock challenge. I signed up to be a rematcher (someone who signs up to give a gift to someone who sent their gift out but didn't receive one in return because their original Santa sucked.) and sent out 11 skeins of stash yarn that had no current plans or queued patterns.  Yay! I'd say it was a net loss for the stash, which is good.  

I wanted to wait a bit to post on the exchange because my santa said that the hand dyed sock balls were an experiment of hers.  I think I like the top sections best.  For this sock, I did the entire ankle in ribbing, and I also added a ribbed section on the bottom of the arch to see if it would help with sagging in the long term.  We'll see how it fits after a few washes and wears.  

Check out my newly scrubbed floor, I've got a story for you later.  

Check out my newly scrubbed floor, I've got a story for you later.  

With this year's current projects I've been trying to use up entire skeins of yarn, especially for stuff that isn't sock yarn.  I'm not terribly concerned about the sock yarn thing because I've got the hexipuff blanket to work on, but I'm really not sure what to do with a few yards of worsted or whatever.  None of my color scraps really go together and there isn't enough of anything to make a whole project.  I've searched through ravelry to find an acceptable scrap yarn project, but honestly, most of those projects are quite hideous.  A lot of them look like mud, and while I like the idea of using things up, LNT, and all that, I really really don't want to make something I wouldn't wear and then guilt someone else into wearing it.  Plus there'd be SO MANY ENDS to tuck away and I don't think I have the patience for that. I think I might donate most of my random scraps.  

I've been meaning to talk about the kind of crafting expectations that we put on ourselves and how that results in a gigantic stash.  From two wise ladies:

I realized the world, everyone in it practically, will give more and more responsibility to any woman who will continue to accept it.  And when the other responsibilities are too great, her responsibility to herself must go.  Or she has to take a thoroughly selfish position and refuse the world, and then accept whatever guilt there is. -Kate Wilhelm
When it comes to making art, life has a habit of getting in the way...How the hell with the emotional and physical demands, the financial responsibilities and the sheer domestic chaos that are part of having a family - do you keep creativity anywhere near the top of your 'to do' list? - Rachel Power

I've been looking at my queue and I doubt I can get through it all this year.  There are too many sweaters to knit up.  Unless I devoted a lot more time to the needles it's not attainable this year.  And that's okay.  They trade-off for the fancy handmade bespoke wardrobe is visiting friends, camping and hiking, fancy cooking, training the dog, visiting the gym and myriad other things that make me feel good.  I'm trying not to set unattainable goals so that when I accomplish something I can feel good about getting THE THING DONE rather than feel guilty about what I haven't finished yet.  

Anyway, sorry about the long wait, I've got a lot of irons in the fire.  Soon I'll hopefully be able to share some big news with y'all.  

Happy Knitting

Minnesota Yarn Shop Hop 2015

Mom and I had planned to do the Minnesota Yarn Shop Hop last year, but couldn't get time off, so we made it a priority this year.  We only hopped on Sunday, and then for only 4 1/2 hours.  We were able to visit 7 shops of the 17 total, and all but one of them were fabulous. We started the morning with breakfast at Whitey's Saloon, and then headed out from Northeast Minneapolis. The hop wasn't slated to start until 12:00pm, so we stopped at Midwest Supplies to check out some brewing and gardening supplies while killing time before our first stop opened up. Here's what we hit up:

  1. Linden Yarn and Textiles in St. Louis Park - your average neighborhood yarn shop.  There wasn't anything out of order or really surprising about this shop.  A little expensive, but the shop owner was nice and polite. 
  2. Needlework Unlimited in Minneapolis - Huge shop with a lot to choose from.  Knitting to needlework, it was cool to see all of the stitching yarns, but I felt a little overwhelmed here and there didn't seem to be a place to hang out and craft.  Maybe it's set up differently when the hop isn't happening?
  3. Crafty Planet in Minneapolis - Lots of really cool fabrics, yarn selection was just meh, but they do carry knit picks needles! I would come back here to pick out fabric for a sewing project.  
  4. Double Ewe Yarn Shop in Circle Pines - The ladies here were very welcoming and talkative.  They made sure we were helped and welcomed and all of our questions were answered.  Even though most of the women here were my mother's age, if I lived in Circle Pines I would make the drive to knit with them. Their selection was fairly standard and simple, with a few hand dyed yarns thrown in for good measure. I took home my fair share of skeins because I liked the ladies working here.  We talked about tattoos and other fun stuff.  
  5. A Sheepy Yarn Shop in White Bear Lake - Don't go here! The owner of this shop is rude, out of touch and ageist.  We walked in, said hello and got our books stamped and then proceeded to look around.  I was checking out some Isager fibers only to be physically pushed out of the way by the owner so that another customer her age could look at them.  One of the other shoppers asked the owner how the hop is going and she spent 15 minutes complaining about how much work the hop was and how her employees are crappy help. She loudly gossiped about her health problems with another friend and then declared that youth are the downfall of our society and the reason the economy is so bad is because cell phones are stopping youth from interacting.  *It should be noted I used my cell phone's GPS to find this shop* After her tirade about youth and cell phones ruining her business, she then refused to download a ravelry pattern for a different older customer because she said it took her several hours to do it. Ummm what? The owner of A Sheepy Yarn Shop should feel sheepish at her poor, unwelcoming business practices.  I had wanted to buy a sweater's worth of Isager's alpaca merino blend yarn but her crappy attitude turned me off from ever visiting her shop again. Right across White Bear Lake you'll find Lila and Claudine's Yarn and Gifts and you'll be far better served going there. 
  6. Lila and Claudine's Yarn and Gifts in Mahtomedi - Another great group of crafters hanging out in a super cute shop.  I think one of the owners' husbands helped us check out.  It's always nice to see male knitters.  There was a friendly group hanging out on couches downstairs doing some knitting.  Again, this shop is definitely worth the drive. Mom picked up their special Shop Hop hand dyed yarn, it was one of the best Hop yarns we saw.  She also gifted me a skein that Euphrates found particularly interesting. 
  7. StephenBe in Minneapolis - My personal favorite in the twin cities. Selection, awesome classes and guest artists, comfy knit space and refreshments.  There's nothing more a girl could want. StephenBe always has the best colorful hand dyed yarns from indie dyers.  Stephen's custom colors are always way overpriced, which can be frustrating as I think he's got pretty good taste, ah well. They make up for it in sheer volume and awesomeness.  Plus it's just over a mile from my house.

I bought four skeins from Double Ewe Yarn Shop in Circle Pines, MN, and my lovely Ma bought me a gorgeously saturated skein at Lila And Claudine's Yarn and Gifts in Mahtomedi, MN. You can see all the pretties below. On the whole I'd say it was a very successful shop hop. Next year I'd like to visit the shops we didn't get to see, and hop on a day with more time and earlier in the 4 day event.  About half of the shops we visited were out of their stitch markers or patterns or custom yarn or all three.