Keeping it easy

Lately I’ve been keeping it easy with the knitting. My mind wanders and a pattern is gone. Or I sit there with the item in my lap just not working on it. Every so often I go through a stretch where if I’m going to work on something it better be pretty brainless or it just won’t see the light of day. Seems like this is one of those times. I swear the heat eats at my brain but I can still whip through something easy.

Recently I finished another Hitchhiker. This one again was out of my handspun. It was from a club earlier in the year called “Aspens” and was on BFL. It’s a navajo ply that I split up for short color sections. I had meant to make this into socks but seems it wanted to be a scarf instead.
It’s squishy and lovely and once I was done with it…. I had NOTHING else to knit on. We know that’s actually a serious untruth but I had nothing really easy and brainless so I cast on for 2 things.

I pulled out a skein of Victoria Yarn to make another Hitchhiker.

And I grabbed my giant ball of Caterpillar to make another Caterpillar Shawl.

I have an old one I’ve been using as a shop sample that I’d really like to make MINE. I recently made another in handpsun that was featured in my Craftsy Class on Singles.
caterpillar-papaya-done It’s super squishy and lovely but probably the least likely color for me to wear. I’m really loving these thick happy easy shawls. We’ll see how many I make. If I keep this up, at some point I’m gonna have to start selling off the samples.

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Getting the words out of my head.

I’ve been spending a lot of my time writing. Not necessarily all fiber articles but there is a lot going on in the country. There’s a lot going on in other countries. It’s like someone gassed Earth with something…. of course, many of the things happening have a very definite cause. Things that have been working at coming to a head for a while. It’s just coincidence (or conspiracy theory) that it’s all coming to head right at this moment in time.

This is causing me to spend a lot of time reading articles, researching, and writing. I’m writing in my journal and in my online spaces. Sometimes in spaces that you can read and in others that I keep to myself. I spin… I read…. I drink coffee….I write. (not necessarily in that order)
I need to feel a part of the community and to be of service where I can be. You may not see that because I don’t lay it all out there. There are lots of people that you will never see every aspect of them but when you reach out in the right direction, hopefully someone is there to grab your hand.

My journal is playing a large part in what I’m doing right now. I haven’t been following my scheduled monthly prompts except when I’m stumped for daily writing (and that hasn’t been the case lately). I’ve been writing a lot but occasionally I need short bits to bust me out of the rut I keep getting into. There is a journaller that I follow on instagram called @ninjatraveling – her journals often look a lot like this:
She uses a word or a phrase to make a title for a writing that will take up a half page (in this size book). Its a short bit and it can really help to have some short writing assignments sometimes. If you’re looking for something like that I’ll write a few down. I think its worth it to even do the same word several times. On any given day, you don’t know what you’ll get.

Helping Hand
Giving or Gifts

If you’re like me and you’re a little stuck in your own little circle of words or writing and the prompts I’ve set up for the year aren’t working so well – choose 4 words or small phrases and set them up like I did and write it out. Get out of your head. Get grounded. Get back to it.

Oh, and use washi tape, it makes your day brighter just because.

And a few more words for the road:
Love or Heart
Sunshine or Starshine or Moonshine
Wool or Fleece

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Russian Schematics…

I pin a lot of clothing and pattern stuff to Pinterest. Sometimes I even make things from it. One such thing was a Russian schematic for a loose flowy smock type top. I translated all of the dimension from metric to inches and decided how much of it I was going to do. As evidenced by little sticky note.
This fabric is some sandwash/noil/raw silk that got my hands on.
I’m working on dyeing samples so you can order yardage in the shop. My hope is to have that up by the end of the month or first week of August. We’ll see how all these kid events go in the next couple of weeks.

When I got to actually cutting the fabric, I didn’t have quite as much as they did and I didn’t want to add all the cuts they did so I improvised a little and the sleeves are 2 inches shorter, the body is 1 inch less wide (per side, per piece so 4 overall).

I think it fits me better than my daughter but I also take better photos so you get to see the final garment on her.
And let’s put our arms up honey and show how the garment looks
I’m throwing in this one just because of the look on her face.

I plan to wear this as my “evening” top for sitting out on the deck or should it get colder during the day. Its lightweight, flows well, and it’s big/airy. I love this thing and I’d make another. Maybe something lacy for a bathing suit coverup?

Oh yeah…
I finished the other piece of fabric shown up there into a pair of pants. I’ll talk about those later.

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Journal – July 2016

Here’s the thing. We all know how horrible I am at remembering to post on time. If there are people out there enjoying the journal prompts I wanted to make sure that they were here and ready to go. I’ve finished a bunch of months ahead and I’m setting them up to publish on a schedule. I figure if I manage to be on time, I’ll have changed this post and you won’t even know that it’s on a schedule this month. If I didn’t, I hope you still enjoy your prompts and hopefully I’ll be back to talk about the journal stuff next month.

PDF of journal prompts for July

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The Tour…

Once again, just like every year, the Tour de Fleece happens. Every year, I start out strong and then fade. Will this be the year I don’t fade? How many years have I been doing this? Yeah, maybe I won’t be counting on this year being the year for going strong through out but I’ll just plan on having a good year and cleaning up a few projects.

I’m using the tour to clean up some languishing projects. Clubs….
Things that got tossed aside earlier in the year when I needed to finish up some sharp new samples for my Craftsy class.

I’m also doing a little Spin and Knit along in the Spunky Eclectic Ravelry group so I might need a new fiber for the sweater. If the chosen sweater is Flax then this is the fiber I’ll spin.
That’s a whole lotta pink and it made my camera cry a little.
If the sweater is something else then I’ll be stash diving, acquiring new on the last minute, or possibly one of the current clean up spins will work. Who knows! Life on the edge folks! The poll is over tomorrow so I’ll have a couple of days before TdF even starts to plot a plan.

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Grey….Not Grey? Part 1.

Grey… Not Grey? Part 1.

ok. We’ve talked about this before so it’s not a secret, I’m going grey. It’s pretty apparent that I stopped dyeing my hair some time ago. It’s the beginning of my 5th year of no coloring. Despite my love of the color there are times that it annoys me.

I’m fascinated with how my hair color is changing. Yet, there are days that I loath it being 2-toned. Just be all brown or be all grey. Sometimes the mix of it is such a pain. Sometimes its just that the grey goes in one direction while the brown goes in another. Sometimes it’s the look of the 2 tone.

What if I color it? ugh. The upkeep. That’s the first thing that hits me.
Sometimes I see one of my friends that has some amazing color and then I think of upkeep.
Sometimes I research natural or henna coloring and then I think of upkeep.

I want to have my grey and I want to have a solid color too.
I want my cupcakes and to eat the heck out of it too.

Here’s what I’m going to do…. I’m going to flirt with some temporary colors. I know there are a bunch of you out there going grey too or contemplating it and maybe this research will just be blogging my vanity or maybe it will help you find products that help you over that hump into letting go of the upkeep.

That said. The first thing I tried was “root touch up” stuff at my hairdresser. Jeff at Hairrazors applied it for me and I bought the can to take home. Putting this into my hair and not just at my roots might be a little trickier than a wash in but I don’t doubt I can get a kid to help me.

He sprayed and combed this product in. It is sold as a wash out root touch up.

Right after application. You can see it’s pretty good – I look like I might not have much if any grey at all.

Day 1 after sleeping on it – no washing. You can see the color has lightened. I can’t say that I’m an easy sleeper. Think wild animals in a struggle with a blanket.

Day 2… more sleeping – no washing. The color has lightened and a lot of the grey is back but not all of it.

And finally, I washed it out.
This is the stuff I used:
I have the Auburn/Red can of it and I will use it again. I like it. If I was say, going to a fancy ball (or more realiztically a photo shoot for handknits) and I wanted to have one color hair for the evening, I’d spray it on fresh for that evening. Obviously from the pics, you can see it doesn’t last a long time. It’s totally worth it though for a special event.

Now…. to figure out what to try next.

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Instant Success

I woke up one morning, picked up a spindle and made the most gorgeous yarn you ever saw. You’d think a machine made it. And then I hopped onto a spinning wheel and did the same thing. I made a 4 ply lace weight cable from Cultivated silk and…..

Said no one. Certainly not me.

Instant success doesn’t usually happen and I can see frustration with people in classes. I can see it in the words in many questions on my Craftsy class. We all want to be an instant success and maybe there have been things in our life that we picked up and we were pretty damn good at it. It’s not always going to happen. Practice. Seriously.

Some of us get so wrapped up in wanting to make yarn like a master spinner does without even thinking how many years that master spinner took to get there. Instant success may be a thing but it’s a very very rare thing and we shouldn’t put the pressure on ourselves to be that instant success story. If it happens, accept it. If it doesn’t happen, practice. You can get there and maybe the journey is sweeter than any instant gratification you would get from making some holy grail yarn.


This is a bunch of my first practice yarns all cobbled together. I think my very first stuff likely got pitched because I didn’t have communities like we have today to help me savor my mistakes. SAVOR YOUR MISTAKES. You will learn as much (maybe more) from your mistakes as you will from your successes. Savor your mistakes. Learn from them.

I practiced spinning. I practiced every damn day. EVERY. DAMN. DAY. Why? Because I wanted spinning to be as easy and simple as other people made it look. It wasn’t instant for me. I understood the mechanics well enough but making my muscles do what I needed them to do, took some effort. I wanted to make all the yarns. I wanted to be a success at it. I practiced.


When you see me spin and you think it looks easy, I didn’t wake up one day and make consistent yarn. I woke up one day and decided that spindle wasn’t going to best me. I was going to spin and learn and make yarn. I was going to make the yarn I wanted and even if that didn’t happen immediately I knew it would happen. I knew it would happen because I would make it happen.

I worked my little fingers until I could make a beautifully consistent yarn. Maybe not supreme mill spun perfection but pretty damn close and then I stopped that. No, I didn’t stop spinning but I stopped working on millspun copycat perfection. I started to work with my yarn and realized a few things.
1. I wanted handspun, not millspun.
2. I wanted to enjoy spinning and not obsess over every little bump
3. I loved every little bump
4. When knit, those bumps mostly disappear.


The joy in working with handspun for me is slight imperfections so that’s where I got to that consistent yarn and went back. Even that took some practice. I think we’re living in a time where we see perfection, we want perfection, and we get down on ourselves when we don’t hit that. Maybe we need a new perfection or maybe we need to be a little more gentle with ourselves?

All I want to say is to stop thinking that instant success exists. It rarely does. Be more gentle with yourself and enjoy the learning process and the practice. In whatever you do. Practice but be kind to yourself and learn from your mistakes.

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