All the Circles.

The other day I doodled some circles. I just took a couple of my watercolor blanks and I painted watercolor circles on them. Blends and solids. Happy little circles. Of course they’re never done until I get some ink into them. This one I decided it needed to be yarn and inked over it all in black.

The other looked more like bubbles to me so I found a bubble saying and practiced my fancy penmanship over it. Adding some “popped” bubbles in another ink.
It says “Enthusiasm just creates bubbles; it doesn’t keep them from popping – Adora Svitak”

Then because I liked these so much I grabbed more postcard sized paper and painted more circles….

And then a few more in the trading card size….

I still want to make more and I haven’t even inked over the ones I have done. I have no idea what they’ll all become. Yarn? Bases for bubble quotes? Something else? It all depends on what I see in them at the time of inking.

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Weaving with no header

You don’t need to weave with a header.
I used to…strips of bags, bulky yarns, pieces of paper etc etc. If it was laying around and I thought I could un-weave it easier later, I used it. This is no longer my practice. It has been this way for years now. Sometimes I forget to share these things. I sent out this hint in the last Spunky Eclectic Weaving club pattern but I figured I should share it here with you too.

Just advance your warp and start weaving.

I know. Sounds simple. It is.

We’re usually taught to weave a header so it seems like an odd concept for many. If you’re weaving a header that will stay with project, well that’s still a valid process. If you’re weaving a header and picking it out later, you don’t need to unless you want to.
This is how I do my weaving whether it’s on a floor loom or a rigid heddle (like this little Cricket loom project).

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One Sock Wonder

This is a knitters term, in case you aren’t familiar with it.
I think it’s mean to be derogatory though I don’t take it as such. It’s more of a statement of how it is. I am a One Sock Wonder. I have the incredible habit of making one sock and moving on without making a second. It’s probably not a good habit. I don’t wear that one sock in a pair with some other one sock. I just let them languish. If we’re being honest here (and I am) I would like to finish a pair of socks sometime. I mean, I used to finish socks in pairs but somewhere along the line, I stopped doing that. I am down to 2 pairs of woolie socks in my drawer. They won’t last forever and more times than I care to think about, I’m wearing some store bought sock (like almost every day). Yeah, I heard that. Someone out there gasped and someone else is now weeping for me a little bit. Thanks guys.

So lets get this walk of (not so much)shame rolling. I dug through all my projects and yanked out the lonely socks. I am in no way guaranteeing that there aren’t more hidden. Those of you that are monogamous to your projects and don’t have a large stash might want to turn away now. I have a massive stash and I have horrible organizational skills. I lose projects. Usually not permanently but they do disappear from time to time. More projects might be hidden away but these are the ones I have found. They’re enough. You’ll see.

Let’s start with the ones that have at least a whole first sock done:
^Blue/white sock:
Yarn: Handspun Boucle and SE Supernova Sock
Colorway: White and Sky
Pattern: None
I last worked on them: over a year ago. I have no idea why I didn’t finish these. I really like them and the first sock went fast.

Browner Sock
Yarn: SE Skinny Sock
Colorway: Walkabout
Pattern: Boomerang (freebie sent with club)
I last worked on them: More than 2 years ago. I have one whole sock and the second one done to the heel. I picked it up when taking the photo and I don’t remember what I was doing. I’ll have to really look at it and count stitches to figure it out.
^Yarn: handspun Falkland
Colorway: SE Dithering
Pattern: None
I last worked on them: 2 weeks ago. I have about 5 rows of ribbing done on the second sock. I actually really want to wear these. They’re perfect.
^Yarn: Opal Sock yarn
Colorway: I don’t remember. I know it’s on the ball band but I already tucked these back away.
Pattern: None
I last worked on them: more than 2 years ago. This is a love lost. I like them but I don’t love them. I need revisit and have a short affair, just long enough to get the pair complete.
^Yarn: Panda Sock
Colorway: Hidden and Oxblood
Pattern: none
I last worked on them: November 2013. I made this as a sample for the November fiber show and then didn’t make the second sock. Onward and upward to new samples. But I want to wear these and they are really luscious so maybe I just need to get to it.
^Yarn: Sockotta
Colorway: I don’t know and don’t care
Pattern: none
I last worked on them: More than 2 years ago. These are summer socks. I like wool and I rarely wear socks in summer. I’m not sure what possessed me to get this stuff. It’s nice enough, it’s just not my favorite.

Moving on to the socks that I haven’t even managed to complete ONE…
^Yarn: Ball band is missing.
Colorway: Tweedy navy
Pattern: none
I last worked on them: Spring 2013. I thought these might be for Jay but turned out I didn’t have enough yarn and they weren’t big enough anyway. But they’re too big for me. The bright blue is where the afterthought heel goes. If I don’t put that in, I can wear them as a tube sock….
^Yarn: Handspun  made from Enchanted Knoll Batts
Colorway: Something random.
Pattern: None
I last worked on them: 1 year ago. I love these socks and the yarn. Thing is, I know I don’t have enough and so it’s stalled me. I need to get another set of needles freed, work down the other sock and then I can make up the difference at the toes with something else. Sounds like a plan right?
^Yarn: Sporty from SE
Colorway: Hi Ho Silver and Riverwalk
Pattern: Broken Seed
I last worked on them: 2 weeks ago. LOVE these socks, the yarn, and the pattern. I do want these finished. The colors aren’t really grabbing me but I love them enough to finish them. Sporty yarn last forever so….
^Yarn: SE – Shine
Colorway: Estuary
Pattern: River…something.
I last worked on them: more than 2 years ago. Love the yarn but I’m not loving the pattern.
^Yarn: SE Super DK
Colorway: Dora
Pattern: none
I last worked on them: More than 2 years ago. This is my favorite sock yarn. Thick and fast and also thick and warm. I have no idea why I never finished these. I found them tucked into a drawer at the shop so maybe I just hid them on myself and that’s why. I know where they are now!
^Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash
Colorway: Brown
Pattern: Husbeast
I last worked on them: More than 2 years ago. I dislike this yarn… I don’t hate it. It’s just not my favorite. Paired with these needles though, I do hate it. I’m afraid to change them because my gauge will be so different. Maybe I’ll just go down a needle size and use wooden. hmmm…
^Yarn: Handspun Panda from SE and Supernova toes/heels
Colorway: Aztec (handspun) and Lobster (supernova)
Pattern: none
I last worked on them: Probably sometime in the last year or so. I really do love these. These were another pair I had at the shop and forgot about. Time to stop doing that to myself. I have some shawls I hid here as well. Bad. I’m not sure why I’m doing toes and heels in the Supernova. Panda fiber is plenty strong. I think maybe I just wanted to use up some scraps? Sounds plausible.
^Yarn: SE Supernova
Colorway: Moody Foods
I last worked on them: I remember bringing these on a trip someplace and then never toughing them again. More than 2 years for these as well. Love them too much to leave them forever though.
^Yarn: Whatnot Sock
Colorway: Cherry Slush
Pattern: none
I last worked on them: more than 2 years ago. I used to like the picot tops and now I hate them. I like the yarn too much to make a sock I hate. I made Short RPM socks from the first half of this (which are now in sock heaven). I am ripping this sock.
^Yarn: Something discontinued
Colorway: Blue Sparkles
Pattern: none
I last worked on them: More than 2 years. These were my first experience with 2 socks at the same time on 2 circulars. I got this far before I wanted to strangle myself or someone else with a circular.¬† You can see I removed one of the socks but by then I hated it so much I was done. I can’t decide if I need to frog or I can plow ahead some day.

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What pen do I want?

When people find out I’m a pen and ink junky that is a pretty common question I get asked. I often answer with “Lamy Safari”. It is probably my most dependable, easy to use, reliable pen. I love it so much that I have it in different nib sizes. These days, though, I mostly use it for drawing these days. Why? because I have a bunch of pens and I prefer to write every day with some ink color other than black. I keep my Safari pens all in black for doodling and sketching. They’re my most reliable and I when I set down to doodle out something, I don’t want blobs, messes or scratches. Lamy is my knight in shining armor.

So what pens do I like? I’m going to do a run down here of a few of my favorites from least to most expensive. Ready?

The Preppy Pen from Platinum
Inks: Top: Noodler’s Golden Brown, Bottom: Noodler’s Concord Grape

It’s price point is in the $3-$4 range. Its a decent pen. Nothing fancy. I have Fine tips and they write really well. One came a little scratchy but I used some fine steel wool on it and voila, it was great. Ink converters for that pen cost more than the pen itself though. But! You can turn the pen into an eyedropper pen. What’s that? CLICK HERE. He even mentions how to change the Preppy into an eyedropper pen. Ink Nouveau has a video detailing just that CLICK HERE. I received the preppy free with a bottle of Noodler’s ink. I since bought one and converted it. It really is simple. I do want to mention that if you don’t have a bottle of ink with an eyedropper in it, get a syringe to fill it. A syringe is a handy thing because you can also refill cartridges. No waste folks! The Preppy also can change out its tip to a ball point, felt tip, or highlighter. Really versatile. This may not be your favorite pen but it’s nice to have one or two set up in funky colors when you need some splash.

The Creaper from Noodlers
Ink: Diamine Ancient Copper

This is $14 from Goulet Pen and it is spelled as Creaper and not Creeper like I originally wrote up there. Creeper Amy indeed. It’s not a bad price at all for a decent flex nib pen. Ink Nouveau has a bunch of videos about this pen but I didn’t link them. Search them out if you get the pen, they will help you with adjustments. The nibs and ink feed is completely adjustable. It’s an easy to fill pen. You can change the nib out to italic if you want to. The ink I have in mine now is dry. I had a pretty wet ink in it before and this pen really does react drastically different depending on the ink you have in it. I can fiddle with the feed and nib and I can make it perfect. If you’re into fancy writing and you want to give a flex nib a try, go for this. However….If you already know you like fancy writing and flex nibs I would put up the extra $6 and buy the Ahab or the Konrad. Both made by Noodlers and $20 at Goulet Pen. They’re a little better than the Creaper in my opinion.

Kakuno from Pilot
Inks: Top: Diamine Graphite, Middle: J. Herbin Vert Olive, Bottom: Noodler’s Baystate Blue

The pen with the smiley face on the nib.
How could you not love this pen? Its reliable, simple to use and it’s always ready. I am using the cheap Pilot converter in it and its been just fine. I know there are mixed reviews about the converters but I’ve filled it 3 times and it’s all just fine. The Graphite is my every day color so this Kakuno is now my every day pen. Love it to pieces. This is the pen that took over the Lamy Safari’s job for daily writing and note taking. It’s about $10 cheaper than a Safari at $16.50 from Jetpens. This means you can have at least 2.

Pelikan Twist
Ink: Montaverde Pink

In expensive pen that is a little hard to find. In my opinion this pen might be best served for kids that hold their pen wrong or need a little help with penmanship. It’s triangle shaped at the top forcing you to hold it correctly. It’s not uncomfortable at all. I really like this pen and if you’ve ordered from us and have a pink note on your order – this is the pen I used. The other good thing about this pen is that you can get it with erasable ink. No kidding. I am getting these for my kids. One needs huge help with her penmanship and I believe this will do it. She writes better with a fountain pen and currently she’s using one of my Safaris. Which makes me nervous that she’ll loose it so I need to get on the ball and get this pen for her.

The Lamy Safari
Ink: Lamy Black

What can I say? This is a great pen. If you want a solid dependable pen that will last you a long time without spending a ton, GET THIS ONE. I’ve had these for years and years. I’d buy more in a heartbeat. I love them. You’ll notice my 3 different size nibs. I’m not super thrilled with the broad 1.5 but the ink isn’t really wet enough for that one probably. I’ll switch out the inks and see what I think. There are more nib sizes for this pen and the Fine is a pretty great every day size. I prefer the Ex-Fine for doodling. So that lime green is my most often used pen.¬† I rely on these pens and they’ve not yet failed me.

Also – in case you didn’t know, you can use an empty clean pen as a “dip pen”. Which is what I did to test some inks.
I do not have my Lamy pens set up with 3 different turquoise inks. I’m bonkers but not a complete lunatic. I had an empty one which I just dipped in the ink and tested out the colors. Slick. I wouldn’t write a lot this way but to test out ink colors, it’s pretty perfect. Which, by the way, my favorite out of those 4 Turquoise tests is the Organics Studio Nickel. It’s probably not the best bet for sky sketching. For that it’s a toss up between Diamine Turquoise and Noodler’s Navajo Turquoise. For writing though, I’d pick the Nickel. Hands down.

If you go shopping and buy pens. Please tweet at me what you got. I love seeing how people match up with their new pens. And bonus, if you have a new ink you love, tell me about that too.

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Castons and off!

I cast on a new project and finished it even!
Pattern: Spiced Cocoa
Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Targhee Classic
Colorway: Chai
Notes: Knit exactly as written. Fabulous little mitts! They’re cute, they’re a little different and the pattern is very well written.

I didn’t touch any of the old projects. But because I finished something, I cast on 2 new projects!! One of which is a simple raglan in this:
It’s the Caress 50/50 Merino Silk yarn. It’s going to be fabulous and I’ll share my simple pattern notes with you when I finish it.

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Knitting Dumbitious Wrap-up

Well. If you’ve been reading, you might have noticed that I finished a few things. The two big sweater projects Acer and Owls were completed. I managed to finish the Caterpillar shawl and release the free pattern out into the wild. I abandoned the sock that didn’t go over my ridiculously high instep and made it a jar cozy/yarn swatch. I also finished Illyria and Barley. (Ravelry links)

Everything else?
I totally tanked it. Nothing else caught on to the point of where I felt I really needed to finish it so they all languish as I do a few rows here and there on each. I even cast on new projects that are now in the same few rows languish as the old projects. I thought the new projects would catch me up in them but they haven’t yet.

Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Sporty (yarn coming in the update)
Colorways: HiHo Silver and Riverwalk
Pattern: Broken Seed Stitch Socks
Details: Working on the foot of the first sock

Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Baby Panda
Colorway: February Club – “Acorns”
Pattern: Citron
Details: I just started really

Yarn: Handspun BFL Thick/thin Singles
Colorway: French Alpine (colorway is Spunky Eclectic discontinued)
Pattern: Top down Raglan
Details: Body is done. I need to pick up stitches and do the sleeves but I’m undecided how I want them to look.

Yarn: March club – it’s a secret.
Colorway: Hint – it’s not all greys.
Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket
Details: I’m done with the increases. This one, if I worked on it monogamously would be done in a day or two.

Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Super DK
Colorway: Ginkgo
Pattern: Brickless
Details: Working on the 3rd repeat.

Yarn: All Handspun
Colorway: Colorways from SE, Hello Yarn, and Southern Cross Fibres
Pattern: Driftwood with color repeats of Less is More.
Details: 1st color done. Working on solid section of 2nd color. Almost at placket joining.

What’s next?
A simple Raglan in Caress?
A new yarn that is begging to be an Aestlight Shawl?
Finally get those Pointy Pointy Mittens started?
Atalanta (Envy)? or Hilliard (Calypso)?

Or maybe I just haven’t dyed up the next project yet…. I’m trying to make myself finish one thing before I start a couple of others. That’s right. All I need to do is finish one thing then I can start 2 new things. Can you tell I’m a process knitter and not always worried about the final product? If it makes me happy to knit it, I’m on it. Casting on makes me ever so happy. I need a pinch finisher.

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Caterpillar Shawl

This is one of my dumbitious projects that I managed to finish. I think I did fairly well on the dumbitious front but I’ll give you that run down next week maybe. This week I’m away at SPA knit and spin in Freeport, Maine. Tonight at the show and tomorrow online the pattern for the Caterpillar Shawl is live and free.
caterpillarshawl2xLink to Ravelry and the pattern HERE

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