The Week September 18-24

Last week:

  • Weave in the ends of Aranami/Imanara (there are lots even though I’ve been weaving in as I go), and wash & block, then sniff & squish.
    All done!
  • Choose and start a new knitting project. Will it be a blanket to give away or will it be a shawl to keep? I have ideas and yarn for both.
    Done. I’m knitting a blanket of my own design (nothing fancy, really) for the Welcome Blanket Project (HT to Shirley for making me aware of this project!).
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Welcome Blanket Project blanket. Guess how many rows are purled! 😉
  • Carry on embroidering The View From Mt. Peg. It’s ready for all the background mountains and the sky. It occurred to me that I could use the gray background color for clouds, so there’s that.
    I think it’s done without the sky, maybe. I queried the always helpful and funny Mildly Offensive Fiber Arts group on FB for advice about pricing because I have an old friend inquiring about it or a similar commission piece. I gathered my thoughts, made my calculations and came up with a reasonable-to-me-for-the-situation price and am just waiting to hear back from the old friend.
  • Decide on fiber to prep for Spinzilla, if any, and get started while trying not to spin all the braids I’ve got. I have clean, undyed locks I can dye & card or just card, but I also have some alpaca fleeces that need to be washed that would be a joy to spin if I ever actually get around to doing that.
    Instead, I started spinning a braid of fiber from Pigeon Roof Studios. I should do a test spin of those locks and wash that alpaca fleece, but this seemed much more fun.
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The braid of Pigeon Roof Studios fiber I started spinning – these aren’t my usual colors.
  • Plan the weekend: Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival is this weekend, so is parents weekend at both my sons’ schools. We’re going to skip it and take Ethan (who’s at JMU in Harrisonburg, VA) hiking on Sunday in the Shenandoah National Park instead. That leaves Saturday for SVFF, except some of my roller derby friends are getting together and I haven’t seen a lot of them for a few years. I have conflicts.
    We visited Ethan this past Sunday, which opens up my Sunday. All other plans are settled.
  • Try to sleep Wednesday night after seeing IT at the Alamo with Becky. Avoid clowns.
    No problemo! It was startling in a few spots, but I realized it’s most like Stand By Me but with a scary clown demon instead of a dead body. Also, there’s a kick-ass girl, but the groups of kids is as close as the group of boys in Stand By Me. Can’t wait for Chapter 2, may need to re-read the book or start reading King again in general.

This week:

  • Take fancy final project photos of Inamara, which involves getting Mr. Q & his photog skills. Use his camera this time, not my phone.
  • Continue working on the new blanket.
  • Continue spinning the braid of Pigeon Roof Studios fiber.
  • Start a new embroidery project.
  • Hopefully hear back from my friend and decide what to do with The View From Mt. Peg.

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    The View From Mt. Peg, probably in its near-final form. 
  • Saturday: meet Becky & her daughter Mia at Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. From there, go to friend gathering in Martinsburg, WV. Sunday is free, so maybe I can get Ky to go to the Leesburg Fine Arts Festival (day 2) to poke around and maybe make some connections in this local artist world I’m trying to be more active in.
  • Some sad news: Moose, our 12 year old big black dog, hasn’t been doing well and so we have an appointment on Thursday to ease his pain and help him across the Rainbow Bridge. He will be dearly missed by us all, but it’s time – he’s having problems just getting up from lying down, along with having problems with the stairs to the back yard and some so far minor potty problems. We’re treating him like a king this week.
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Moosie posing nicely for the camera. He’s a beautiful, smart dog
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Moose asking if it’s time for dinner yet
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The Week September 11-17

Last week:

  • Order from Campus Cookies for Ethan for his birthday Thursday. Eat more of Ky’s cake to celebrate in Ethan’s absence. Our first birthday apart and his 18th.
    The cookies & balloons were a grand success – Ethan, his roommate and the guys on his hall feasted. I think it was a pretty good birthday for him.
  • Carry on with Aranami/Imanara. I’m almost halfway through the final row.
    Finished, except for weaving in ends, washing & blocking.
  • Carry on with the embroidery.
    I’m about halfway done with the canvas, but only 1/3 of the way through the colors, so the funnest part is still to come.
  • Choose and start the next spinning project.
    I chose and spun a braid of Dragonfly Fibers polwarth & silk roving and did a 3 ply, with 2 ply and a single left over. I think it’s the squishiest yarn I’ve spun; I seem to only be able to do a short forward draw, alternated occasionally with a long back draw, which makes for a pretty tight twist. This time around the polwarth was sticky enough that I didn’t feel like it needed a lot of twist to stay together, so I adjusted accordingly and I love the yarn I got. The color, Salt Marsh, is really awesome too and I’m glad I got to spend so much time in it.
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My latest spinning project. I hope I have braids left for October!

I also registered with Team Spin Off for Spinzilla, which is happening October 2-8. This was the thing I forgot to mention last week. I’ve never done Spinzilla – it started the same year I got caught up in roller derby, which is kind of all-consuming, and I just haven’t gotten around to trying it until now. Let’s see how much I can spin in 7 days!

This week:

  • Weave in the ends of Aranami/Imanara (there are lots even though I’ve been weaving in as I go), and wash & block, then sniff & squish.
  • Choose and start a new knitting project. Will it be a blanket to give away or will it be a shawl to keep? I have ideas and yarn for both.
  • Carry on embroidering The View From Mt. Peg. It’s ready for all the background mountains and the sky. It occurred to me that I could use the gray background color for clouds, so there’s that.

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    The View From Mt. Peg
  • Decide on fiber to prep for Spinzilla, if any, and get started while trying not to spin all the braids I’ve got. I have clean, undyed locks I can dye & card or just card, but I also have some alpaca fleeces that need to be washed that would be a joy to spin if I ever actually get around to doing that.
  • Plan the weekend: Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival is this weekend, so is parents weekend at both my sons’ schools. We’re going to skip it and take Ethan (who’s at JMU in Harrisonburg, VA) hiking on Sunday in the Shenandoah National Park instead. That leaves Saturday for SVFF, except some of my roller derby friends are getting together and I haven’t seen a lot of them for a few years. I have conflicts.
  • Try to sleep Wednesday night after seeing IT at the Alamo with Becky. Avoid clowns.

Did I say clowns? Here’s a palate cleanser: the Dragonfly Fibers Salt Marsh single on my hardware store niddy noddy. Those colors!!! Have a great (clown-free!) week!

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This Is My Heart

Once upon I time, I swore I would never, ever offer a knitting pattern for free anymore ever again.

Things change: Charlottesville happened.

In the aftermath in my travels on social media, I came across a page on Facebook called Hearts for Cville that was soliciting knit and crocheted hearts to hang all over Charlottesville for anyone to take in order to promote healing and unity after what happened. A Charlottesville yarn store, Laughing Sheep Yarns, is the force behind Hearts for Cville, making, accepting, and hanging hearts from all over the country. Because I also live in Virginia, I wanted to show the people of Charlottesville that we’re thinking of them all the way up here in NOVA also.
Hearts for Cville

Hearts for CVille recommends some patterns to get started on heart making, and I diligently followed one for my first heart. But it involved seaming, something I avoid if possible, and it involved knitting the tops of the heart separately, making for 4 more ends to weave in for each heart, another knitting task I avoid when I can. The second heart I tried making in the round from the bottom up, which gives the knitter flexibility on size and gauge, but still separating the knitting to finish the tops of the hearts. But there had to be a better way, another way to get around weaving in all those ends: enter short rows at the top.

And that’s how my free pattern, This Is My Heart, came about. I can’t charge money for something that I created for a charity project, even though the pattern is infinitely flexible – you can use it to make any size heart on any size needles with any yarn. A warning though: it’s for advanced knitters; in it, I assume you know how to knit in the round, knit short rows, and graft stitches for a neat edge at the top of the heart.

Hearts for Cville

The pattern title is from the opening line in a Stars song. If you haven’t listened to them, they’re great – they’re a Canadian band that’s also a part of Broken Social Scene (a collective with members from a handful of Canadian bands, including Arcade Fire and Metric) and they’ve been around for 20 or so years. They have a new album coming out in October, but the song I took the title from is off of their 2003 album Heart – What the Snowman Learned About Love.

So: I am Mandy, and this is my heart.
Hearts for Cville

The Week September 4-10

Last week:

  1. Work the final row (different from regular rows) in the bright colored yarn. The final stripe would be 1/2 a row taller than all the other stripes.
  2. Work another stripe of the dull colored yarn, with the final row being part of the stripe. All stripes would be the same height, but the stripe sequence would be off by 1 – I started with the dull yarn but I like the bright yarn better and would prefer that to be at the top of the shawl.
  3. Work another stripe of the dull yarn followed by another stripe, with final row, of the bright yarn. Risk running out of yarn. Ripping back would be especially tedious and cumbersome since the shawl is knit in wedge modules.

I went with choice 1. This shawl is big enough and I want to finish it and move on to something else (probably another shawl). I may incorporate the dull color in a wide band at the top, which would be totally off-pattern. But I haven’t exactly followed the pattern to the letter (colorwise, at least) anyway. Patterns are just gentle suggestions, right?

  • Publish This Is My Heart, the heart pattern that I came up with for Hearts for Cville and write a blog post about the whole heart thing.
    At least I did part of this. I posted it all over the place – Ravelry, Twitter, Instagram – but did not, in fact, write a blog post about it. Maybe this week?
  • Begin actual embroidery work on The View from Mt. Peg.
    Check! I finished the first two layers of mountains – so much satin stitch and so many french knots.
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The View From Mt. Peg: The First Two Layers
  • Decide on the next knitting project, which will use either a rainbow variegated yarn from Marigoldjen that I got at MDSW 2016 and the black yarn I got from Neighborhood Fiber Company at MDSW 2017 or yarn that I got from The Fiberists at Shenandoah Fiber Festival 2017. Or I may re-knit or crochet Jeff’s cat cave, which is currently laying collapsed and unused in my family room.This is still up in the air. I’ve been thinking about it, but embroidery & spinning & Imanara/Aranami have been keeping me busy.

I also finished spinning the Spunky Eclectic bump. Here it is on my niddy-noddy. It’s currently soaking it a tub, waiting for me to squeeze it out & whack before drying.

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Spunky Eclectic Merino & Silk, Calypso colorway

And my husband’s birthday was on Sunday the 3rd, so I baked him a cake. He used to be cake-averse, but since discovering he has type 2 diabetes (somewhat under control after 10 years), he loves it. This is Almond Cream Cake, which I’ve not made before. I’d bake again with some modifications; the cake was too dense (an egg white problem, I think) and the frosting looked broken/separated (perhaps I didn’t whip it enough).

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Almond Cream Cake. It has its faults, but still tastes delicious.

 

This week:

  • Order from Campus Cookies for Ethan for his birthday Thursday. Eat more of Ky’s cake to celebrate in Ethan’s absence. Our first birthday apart and his 18th.
  • Carry on with Aranami/Imanara. I’m almost halfway through the final row.
  • Carry on with the embroidery.
  • Choose and start the next spinning project.
    That’s right, I already did this yesterday. How nice to be able to mark something off on the new list. I’m spinning a braid of Dragon Fly Fibers Polwarth Silk (85/15) in the Salt Marsh colorway, which I think was the MDS&W 2016 exclusive colorway. I’m doing a fractal spin (divide fiber lengthwise into 3 equal portions, spin 1 length, divide next part lengthwise into 2 & spin, divide last part into 4 & spin). I already spun 1/3 of it – it’s going to be lofty thanks to the Polwarth I think/hope.
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Dragonfly Fibers is indeed the color of happiness. 

 

I feel like I’m forgetting something. Oh well – if I am it’ll make it into next week’s The Week. May your week be memorable and peaceful. 🙂

The Week August 28-September 3

Last week:

    • Take Henry to load his locker on Tuesday, get him ready for the 1st day of school Thursday.
      The first day of school went swimmingly.
    • Help Ethan pack and move him in to JMU on Wednesday.
      My husband ended up taking him (long story as to why, but Ethan managed to stir up some drama before leaving, unusual for him). His first day of classes is today. He really doesn’t want to be there, but I’m hoping he settles in and starts to like it.
    • Work on Aranami/Imanara.
      Finished another complete row of wedges.
    • Make more hearts for Charlottesville.
      I made a total of 6 and created my own heart pattern that will work for any yarn on any needles – it’s knit bottom up in the round with short rows and a grafted edge at the top of the hearts. It’s in tech edit with my good friend Becky right now. I plan to release it into the wild for free ASAP.
Hearts for Cville
All the hearts I made for Hearts for Cville. Laughing Sheep Yarns, a Charlottesville LYS, is collecting knit & crochet hearts to hang around town for anyone to take in an effort to promote healing. I wanted to get my hearts down there ASAP because of the March Against White Supremacy that’s starting there later this week and ending in DC September 8 (I think).
  • Wrap & send Steph’s baby gifts. (Potential blog post.)
    Done. I didn’t write a post about the goodies I sent, but I could. Maybe this week.
  • Write a post about my Knit Together Square and send it off to Melissa.
    It’s in the mail! I had a lot of packages to send today!
  • Set up lunch with Cecily & Rachelle. (Putting it here so I don’t forget.)
    Done.

I also began spinning another bump of Spunky Eclectic fiber. The back of the label is worn away so I’m guessing that this is a merino-silk blend, 60/40. The colorway is Calypso and it’s dreamy to spin.

My #mdsw2017 haul: 2 skeins of @neighborhoodfiberco Studio Sock in Upton (to make a shawl using a rainbow yarn I got at #mdsw last year) Maple Sugar Candy from Justamere Tree Farm (hands down my favorite candy), fiber from @amyboogie/Spunky Eclectic (I'm
The fiber I started spinning is on the right – these are my Maryland Sheep & Wool 2017 goodies. Those maple sugar candies are long gone, but I wish I had some still.

In addition to that, I got started on my next embroidery project, The View from Mt. Peg. It’s the view from one of two small (very small) mountains in the Vermont town I grew up in up the valley to Killington peak. I got the embroidery floss before drawing the layers of mountains knowing I’d be limited somewhat by DMC colors. Also, I redrew the mountains from a better picture after I took this picture.

The View from Mt Peg
The Beginning of The View From Mt. Peg

This week:

  • Decide what’s next for Aranami/Imanara. The choices:
    1. Work the final row (different from regular rows) in the bright colored yarn. The final stripe would be 1/2 a row taller than all the other stripes.
    2. Work another stripe of the dull colored yarn, with the final row being part of the stripe. All stripes would be the same height, but the stripe sequence would be off by 1 – I started with the dull yarn but I like the bright yarn better and would prefer that to be at the top of the shawl.
    3. Work another stripe of the dull yarn followed by another stripe, with final row, of the bright yarn. Risk running out of yarn. Ripping back would be especially tedious and cumbersome since the shawl is knit in wedge modules.
Aranami
This is basically where my Aranami shawl is (I named the project Inamara on Ravelry), just so there’s a visual along with the options.
  • Publish This Is My Heart, the heart pattern that I came up with for Hearts for Cville and write a blog post about the whole heart thing.
  • Begin actual embroidery work on The View from Mt. Peg.
  • Decide on the next knitting project, which will use either a rainbow variegated yarn from Marigoldjen that I got at MDSW 2016 and the black yarn I got from Neighborhood Fiber Company at MDSW 2017 or yarn that I got from The Fiberists at Shenandoah Fiber Festival 2017. Or I may re-knit or crochet Jeff’s cat cave, which is currently laying collapsed and unused in my family room.

I hope we have a good week, all of us!

lol Friday: Woman, Marionette, Squirrel

I saw a tweet this morning and was instantly enamored:

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 11.46.50 AM

I would now like a marionette of myself to feed squirrels and bunnies and other small animals, and I also wouldn’t mind having a movable mini-me to knit for. Just imagine how quickly FOs would fly of my needle for mini-Mandy/mini-madgeface! Think of all the small animals I could feed with mini-me safely bundled in hand knits!

I poked around a bit more and found an unoriginal article on Laughing Squid, from another unoriginal article in The New York Daily News – the pair were first featured in Humans of New York, not once, but twice! In a nutshell (ha ha – a pun!): the woman in the photograph is 85 year old Doris Diether, who lost her voice; the marionette maker is a professional puppeteer and street performer, Ricky Syers; and the photographer is Nathalie Kalbach. As I read the stories behind the picture, I went from chuckling to myself and imagining a mini-me, to feeling truly touched, with some of my faith in humanity restored: I hope you have time to read them and that they do the same for you. Happy Friday!