Posted by: Mare F | January 14, 2019

Hobo helps out

Over the years I’ve lived with many cats and only recently realized that few of them were lap cats. They might have been leaners, but rarely have I lived with a cat who wanted my lap as a cushion. There have been cats, however, who lusted after my seat as a way to push my buttons, or maybe just because when I get up the chair  is warm. Hobo is both a lap cat and a seat thief…..img_1564

It made for a very interesting shawl knitting session, but we did spend some quality time. He rarely plays with my yarns…. Do you have any helpers?

Posted by: Mare F | January 10, 2019

Thursday chat

Tomorrow is one of our activity days in the school library where I work. I’ve been making pom-poms for a week  (which yielded surprisingly few complete snowmen numbers for the work involved) out of Red Heart Shimmer yarn in white. It’s been a sparkly mess everywhere this week, but rather festive.

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This afternoon I will be hot gluing craft sticks together and painting some of them for snowman heads to be decorated by the students. Now, if I can round up someone to cut out felt carrot noses. I admit that this is a huge perk to my job even if it does tend to be labor intensive at times. It has been many years since I’ve had a blister on my thumb from cutting things out.  Are there any crafts you remember from your childhood that you would like to try again.

Posted by: Mare F | December 31, 2018

Christmas yarn

A wonderful friend sent me three lovely skeins of a yarn I’d not heard of in a selection of wonderful colors. I behaved in an adult manner and managed to finish up 3 or 4 WIPs before digging into it. It wasn’t easy.

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Then came the problem of which yarn to choose. In order to save a bit of time, and not get lost in searching patterns online or in Ravelry, I pulled out my One Skein Wonders book.

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And the winning pattern was The One Skein Scarf. I should be finished with it this morning and I’m already planning my first-day-back-to-school-from-winter-break outfit to match it.

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So, that’s my big girl story of the week. I would like to wish everyone a safe, happy, healthy, and creative New Year. Please be safe.

Posted by: Mare F | December 28, 2018

Charts

The holiday has completely confused me as to what day of the week we are experiencing as usual. I really am a bit of a lost soul during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Since I work at a school I have this week off, which is lovely, so I tend to lose track of the days….also lovely. A very big perk to this week is that I’m done with Christmas orders, my shows are long way ahead, and I can start to clean up random WIPs, plan my strategy for new stock items, and try out new patterns. So far it’s been an eventful vacation. My first I finished up a few small things and then tackled my big one. The Celtic Myth shawl border. I didn’t think twice as I grabbed the bag and brought it to the wingback, a big smile of anticipation on my face. I love the yarn, the shawl is soft, and cables have never been an issue in the past.

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I finished the shawl body months ago, but between work and shows I wanted to enjoy working on the cables so I put it aside for this break. This is the designer, Asita Krebs’, picture. Mine is made using Kraemer Fountain Hill yarn. Anyway, I pulled the shawl, yarn, and directions out of the bag and set them on the ottoman. Then I  got a cable stitch holder, a pen, and a cup of Prince of Wales tea. I was all set….until I saw the chart. I sighed, took a deep breath, and struggled through the set up rows and then the first 5 charts rows only to have the lumpiest mess I’ve ever seen on my hands. While in the process of frogging it I caught a glimpse of a memory of a lovely friend, Laura, using index cards to follow her patterns. Of course, I couldn’t find a single index card in the house, but I did have a pad so I wrote out the chart directions. I’ve managed a full pattern set and not a mistake in site. One down, 32 repeats to go!

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I would like to make it perfectly clear that this is not an issue of the designer, it’s my problem plain and simple. I don’t get knitting charts and I never have done. I do wish I’d thought to write them out before, though, as there are many lovely things I haven’t made because I muddle up knitting charts in my head. Ironically, I prefer crocheting charts to written directions and I can sail right through them. In fact, I have replicated a block from a table cloth by looking at the cloth itself. Knitting chart….totally confusing to me.

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This is not the full repeat, but merely a photo to show that I did manage it and to display the delightfully soft yarn that I’ve chosen. I’ve had this yarn for a few years now and finally it told me at the beginning of the summer what it wanted to be. Let’s hope I don’t let it down. So, do you do well with knitting charts or not?

 

Posted by: Mare F | December 13, 2018

Thursday chat

Last week I ordered a black ornate hat rack advertised to hold 15 hats. One of the reasons I ordered it is because it breaks down so that I can fit it into my car easily – having a sedan and doing craft shows can be a bit tricky – and because of the number of hats it would display. The hat rack I received on Saturday had a broken arm on it so I sent an email and picture to the company, Displays2go.com, and yesterday I received a second full hat rack!

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They don’t want the other one back so I need not worry about bundling it back up to ship out. I can’t believe how quickly they responded. I’m very excited because now I can set up a hat rack of wool felted hats and a rack of acrylic hats for people who can wear wool AND tag them accordingly.  Also this rack comes with a set of hooks that will hold scarves or hat bands. Lovely, useful piece in all.

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There are a couple of other display items that I have on my wish list from them so I will be picking them up in the new year. It’s always a treat when you find a way to take some of the weight and worry out of your craft show tasks and this has definitely made my planning a bit easier.

Posted by: Mare F | December 10, 2018

Holiday season = head cold

It seems to me that the one thing I can count on at this time of year, every year, is a head cold. Granted I do work in a middle/high school library with over 1,100 students so you would think that I would be used to this….the constant influx of new germs, yet every year I am once again surprised that I have a head cold in the beginning of December. So this brings me to my question for today. Do you still craft when you are sick?

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I admit that this doesn’t stop me, but it does slow me down. This is when I tend to work on hats – plain old knitting in the round – or scarves – plain old knitting back and forth – as it’s simplicity is soothing and I still feel as though I’m accomplishing something…even when I find myself nodding off while sitting upright in the wingback chair.

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I can usually tell when I’m on the mend because not only do I not nod off as often, but I find myself yearning for slightly more complex patterns. So, do you have a favorite head cold pattern?

Posted by: Mare F | December 6, 2018

Thursday chat

If only I had this book to peruse while leading up to and after my dentist appointment last week I might have relaxed a bit more than I did do. Mind you, my dentist is wonderful and I had no pain from my extraction, but I will say that I was a bit more distracted than usual. Of course, this arrived on Friday, after I was already home and regaining my composure, but I’m not complaining. I plan to settle in with it this afternoon, it’s been a very hectic week, and enjoy a large mug of tea!

 

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How often to you curl up with your pattern books just because you can do?

Posted by: Mare F | December 3, 2018

Variety of projects

I don’t believe that I am the only one who has more than one project going at a time, but I’m not sure how many people have several projects going at once. I will admit that this time of year I tend to have more because of orders and so that I don’t get bogged down on one item. I tend to have a short attention span, but an obsession to finish what I start which can lead to frustration on certain project. Kind of a wholesale second sockitis, if you will. You know, the middle of the afghan pattern when you just know that you will be making it forever.

So, I try to have at least one knitting project and one crocheting project going at a time. That way I can also use different muscles if I want to do. Occasionally I do a project with uses both crocheting AND knitting.

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I had a request for an ear flap hat, but couldn’t find a comfortable pattern for both the colorway and my attention span issue so I knitted the hat and crocheted the edge and ear flaps. Got my colorway under control.

I also try to have simple projects as well as more complicated projects. The current complicated project is the Entwined Shoulder Shawl which I haven’t made in years.

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There is just enough variation to keep my attention, but not enough to make me panic. it will be lots of fun when I get to the I-Cord bind off. It’s a large shawl!

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And then, as an added carrot, I have the next project, or two, set up in my line of vision so that I keep moving on the current projects. We won’t talk about my sock basket which has been languishing in the corner for almost a year now….I know that it’s time for me to make some more socks, but then it’s finding the time that slows me down.

So, how many projects do you have going and how do you handle the rotation?

Posted by: Mare F | November 26, 2018

Holiday weekend

I hope that everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend. Kudos to you if you braved the crowds on Black Friday and if you did, I hope that you got some wonderful bargains. As I’d hoped, our weekend was quiet. I parked my car in the drive on Tuesday afternoon, after I got home from school, and didn’t get back into it until this morning when I had to leave for work. It was lovely especially as we had temps in the single digits with negative wind chill temps on Thursday and Friday.

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I finished an afghan for a Christmas gift and, of course, the young man’s favorite color is black so I went from black bed socks to a black afghan.

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I also finished a wool cap (dark brown) and a messy bun hat (also in black) for orders I received at the craft fair a week past. They worked up quickly, but I’m really rather tired of dark-colored yarn. I’m hoping that my Red Heart Fair Isle shows up today so that I can start on an ear flap hat with some bright colors! I suspect that the knitting light that will sit around my neck will appear soon as I’ve done just about all of my dark projects for Christmas, but it will still be much appreciated.

 

Did you manage to work on some projects over the weekend or did you have your hands full with family, friends, and activities?

Posted by: Mare F | November 22, 2018

Thursday chat

First, I would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving. It will be Doug and I this year so I’m looking forward to spending the day working on orders, nibbling before a delicious Thanksgiving meal, and reading/watching TV. For many, many, many years I had held Thanksgiving dinner at my home, which was lovely, but the amount of work involved became far more than the enjoyment of the day which defeats the purpose, in my mind. Our door is always open and we will welcome anyone in who would like a comfortable meal in a very relaxed setting, but my days of the large get-together is past.

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So. Black Friday. Who among us is braving the craziness and who is staying in? I suppose that this goes along with the large family gatherings, but I tend not to leave the house at all on the entire holiday weekend unless I must do. All of my toys are here, I can’t imagine anything being worth risking life and limb in the massive crowds and distracted drivers. If you are a fearless soul and are setting out tomorrow to do your Christmas shopping, then I wish you the very best. I will be sitting in the living room, in front of the fire, knitting and drinking tea. 🙂

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