Archive for August, 2014

Crafting on the Go

Since we actually took a family vacation this year… by car… I had to plan my projects accordingly.  I brought a couple drop spindles, which of course were not touched, as well as a few knitting/crochet projects in the hope of making some serious progress during our drives to New York and Boston.  Fortunately, I did not drive.  In theory that meant I would be able to knit.  Unfortunately, I did not drive… which meant I could do little more than sleep.  I have the horrible misfortune of getting car sick when I am not driving.  This was not made better by the fact that my daughter insisted that I ride in the backseat with her.  Not to mention the ridiculous amount of traffic we were stuck in on the way up to New York.  But since we are bringing it up, that ridiculous traffic did seem to help my knitting progress incredibly as we were stuck – cars off, not moving – in a tunnel for an hour and a half.  Which meant I could pull out the socks I was working on and complete most of the second sock.  Sure, it was darkish and the people around us were starting to cause concern as they randomly would call out or honk their horns, but this was the only real knitting progress I made on the trip up.

While staying at my sister’s place, I finally admitted to myself that the socks I was knitting were never going to comfortably fit my enormous feet.  They were too snug and I wasn’t knitting them at a tight enough gauge to feel like my toes wouldn’t break through the stitches within the first couple wears.  Luckily, my sister lives in a cold climate and is very knit-worthy… and her feet are about a size smaller than mine.  The socks fit her perfectly and project 1 was completed.


The next project I brought along would not be what I would consider an awesome travel project.  I could never work on it in the car as I had to count and watch what I was doing the entire time I worked on it.  I also had to bring three gallon-size ziplock bags of fiber fill, which really made my attempt at packing light look like a huge fail.  Plus, it was crochet… which is not my strong suit.  However, I loved this project.  It was my first crochet project that wasn’t flat and it was pretty magically watching it take shape.  With a pattern name like “M. Richard the Whale” and it’s witty pattern description, I was hooked…. literally.  Project 2 was completed and then gifted to a good friend’s baby.


The final project I brought with me was my Viajante by Martina Behm.  At that point, this project had not been touched in at least 6 months.  I had been worrying that it would never fit properly at the rate I was increasing and so I moved it on to some try-it-on tubing, soaked and blocked it before we left.  I figured I would try it on while we were gone and if I had to rip it all out and start over, at least the relaxing vacation would help ease the frustration.  Luckily, I came to my senses and realized it fit fine considering I was only about a quarter of the way through the 2,000 yards of lace weight yarn I would be using.  I moved it back on the needles and I was delighted to find that I could work on it without looking.  Thus, it was my car knitting for the entire trip to Boston, back to New York and all the way home.  We arrived in Virginia, and I arrived at the end of my first 1,000 yard skein of yarn.  This project was then kicked into high gear and became my serious “travel” project as I never left home without it and literally worked on it every possible second.


I may not have brought my typical small and easy projects, except the socks, but I found that the variety and excitement toward the projects is what was best.  None of them were too complicated and all of the knitting was basically stockinette, but there was enough of a difference between the projects to keep me interested and they were simple enough that I could still carry on a conversation or just relax while working on them.  In my mind, they were the perfect items to complete my vacation and set me up for success upon my return home…. And that final success will be shown shortly!

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Summer Crafting, Preschool Style

I have an amazing sister.  I know, this is not a blog where I brag about my family too often.  But no joke, she’s awesome.  When it comes to being the fun aunt, she’s even better.  Our vacation this summer mainly involved staying at my sister’s place where we went on loads of fun adventures to the beach and Coney Island and more.  Back to my sister, though.  She anticipated nearly all of my daughter’s wants and needs… before M even knew she had them.  She even had her willingly eating multiple helpings of salad… my daughter likes her veggies, but baby spinach?  This was new for us…

I brought some toys my daughter hadn’t played with in a while hoping to fill some of the odd hours where we didn’t have something planned and we needed her to be able to play quietly so the adults could rest from all the traveling and excitement.  But it was my sister who brought some real child-entertaining game.

We arrived to find a well-thought-out list of activities she had planned to keep M busy.  There was dress-up, slinky racing (which M and my brother-in-law took off running with), and more drawing than I thought could be humanly possible, especially that done by the adults at the direction of my daughter.

However, the most impressive activity my sister came up with and the one that seems to keep on giving is the one involving thin cut-out wooden bears. Think paper dolls, but made from wood liken to a tongue depressor.  My daughter helped direct how she wanted the faces drawn on… I snuck off for a nap… and when I awoke – all three bears had paper outfits cut out of fancy card stock.  I don’t just mean dresses.. There are shoes, a hat and a purse.


Plus, these outfits aren’t glued on.  There is the potential for more outfits to be created.  That’s because my sister thought to also get that weird blue wall putty stuff that you can hang pictures on your walls without messing up the paint.  The stuff that will now always be referred to as the amazing putty that allows my child to make her own bear dolls’ clothing that will stay on when we want it to but be so easily changed to a new outfit on a whim.  No silly fold-over paper tabs where the clothing inevitably falls off in less than five seconds like normal paper dolls.


Since we’ve been home, I’ve been incredibly inspired to come up with more fun crafting/play time for my daughter and me.  Last summer we had dabbled in some art journaling.  This summer, M is going at it full force.  We pulled out the paints, stencils, glitter glue, crafting tape and craft paper and she has been adding to her pages pretty consistently.


We also pulled out some other projects I had planned on us completing together…. years ago.  We finally painted and decorated the wooden letters for her name and hung them on the wall of her room by stringing them on decorative ribbon (less nail holes).


I’ve also been struggling to find ways to better display all of the artwork she creates both at school and at home, so we hung a couple more lines of ribbon in her room and are hanging each piece with clothes pins.  Now she has her own little art exhibit that she gets to curate.


For our next project, we will be revisiting the bears by making them homes.  Shoe box homes.  I told her we could paint them to look like rooms and paint furniture and rugs and such.  She turns to me and says “and we can cut out a door and make windows too!”.  I hear we will also be gluing the shoe boxes together to make a little bear mansion…. It will likely take up the rest of our summer!

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Stash Dash & Tour de Fleece Wrap-up

To say my summer goals were lofty would not exactly be crazy… but they were nothing beyond what I’ve pushed myself to do in the past.  This year, though, everything seemed to converge making this summer a huge crafting fail.  Between work, taking an actual vacation, and a sudden (but now seemingly taken care of) health situation, I had less time to do everything I planned on.  Sure, I thought I planned according to my vacation time and my life in general… but clearly I was lying to myself.

Let’s start with the Stash Dash goals:  Knit smaller projects mixed in with three large projects (2 sweaters and my Viajante by Martina Behm) and spin as much as possible to use and/or create 5K of yarn.

The result:

Gobi Cowl by Marlaina "Marly" Bird - 196 yards

Gobi Cowl by Marlaina “Marly” Bird – 196 yards

296 yards spun from Rambouillet batts

296 yards spun from Rambouillet batts

138 yards spun from punis by Unwind Yarn Company

138 yards spun from punis by Unwind Yarn Company

615 yards of Polwarth spun in the Tickled Pink colorway from Into the Whirled

615 yards of Polwarth spun in the Tickled Pink colorway from Into the Whirled

Melvin's Dog Sweater - 236.6 yards

Melvin’s Dog Sweater – 236.6 yards

246 yards of Shetland spun in the Costume Ball colorway from FiberFancy

246 yards of Shetland spun in the Costume Ball colorway from FiberFancy

M. Richard the Whale by Stacey Trock - 438 yards

M. Richard the Whale by Stacey Trock – 438 yards

Sunnyside Cardigan by Tanis Lavallee - 400 yards

Sunnyside Cardigan by Tanis Lavallee – 400 yards

Toe-Up Socks - 294.4 yards

Toe-Up Socks – 294.4 yards

That left me at only 2,860 yards – 2,608 yards short.  It was a pretty epic fail.  No knitting was accomplished on any sweater. Though much of my Viajante was complete, no matter how hard I could have pushed myself at the end, I wouldn’t have made the deadline – and would have still been 608 yards short.

As for Tour de Fleece, even though I only managed to finish one of the many spinning projects I had hoped to complete during the Tour (the FiberFancy Shetland shown above), I felt a bit better about it.  I did spent a lot of the Tour riding in a car to and from New York and Boston – making spinning nearly impossible.  I did bring two drop spindles with me in hopes of working on, and maybe even finishing, the two braids of fiber.  But I was on vacation.  Unlike last year, this vacation was not a knitting retreat and between beach-going and meeting with friends I hadn’t seen in years, I just didn’t find the time.  Which was perfectly alright with me.

Since I find myself at almost the end of summer having failed at my crafting goals, I’ve decided to redirect myself toward fall crafting and creating some goals to carry me through to the end of the year.  That’s right people, Christmas is around the corner!  But first, I’ll let you in on all the fun summer crafting I did with my daughter in the next post!

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Getting Back on Track

Summer seems to have spiraled out of control this year.  Many plans and goals came and went unfulfilled.  Many posts were planned and never written.  This week, I hope to change some of that.  After unexpectedly being laid up on the couch recovering from a (minor-ish) surgery, I think now is the time to catch up on everything and fill in all the blanks.

Some things to look forward to this week:

– Stash Dash and Tour de Fleece Wrap-up

– Summer Crafting with M

– Crafting on the Go

– Getting Reacquainted with the Wheel

– Looking ahead to Fall

Look forward to a busier-than-usual week!

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