Know When to Hold 'Em, Know When to Fold 'Em

I don't think I'll ever come to terms with the fact that I'm a terribly slow knitter. I'm still hopelessly optimistic. Hopelessly ambitious. Hopelessly...hopeful. I still add numerous patterns to my Ravelry favorites and queue, with the belief that someday, someday, I will knit them.  I still cast on for far too many projects and bite off more than I can chew.

But, every once in a while, I'm realistic with myself and realize when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. The whole "out with the old, in with the new" energy of this time of year has probably aided the fact that in the last couple months, I've frogged a lot. I said goodbye to a Frais Hat. (I still want to knit but in a color that will be flattering to the recipient and without a wonky brim.) Ripped out a Divinity top. (Again, I do want to knit it someday but with a heavier yarn.) And I'm currently unraveling a Jane Eyre Shawl. (Far too many mistakes to stomach and a realization that I won't wear it as often as I might have thought.)

Still hibernating are a Saco Stripes Tank, which just needs a bit of finishing. A Straw Cowl which is coming along nicely but the stitch pattern is a little time consuming. A pair of Cozy Morning Mitts. My tension when knitting the second one was off compared to the first and I'm still thinking about what my next step should be. (Any tips? Will blocking solve it?) And then there is my (almost) three year old Buttercup Top, which has earned the nickname 'Bittercup.' I think it's best it's just stays at the bottom of my knitting basket until I can approach it with a level head.

Right now I'm trying to get myself organized, prioritize and avoid casting on anymore than I can handle.

PS: For those of you who joined in the Mystery Hat Swap: Your partner's preferences have been sent so if you didn't get them, please contact me. I've created a thread at the Buckaloo View group to share sneak peeks of your hat progress and you're welcome to use the hash tag #mysteryhatswap to find each other on Ravelry and social media!

Gifting No. 4 - An Apron for Amanda

The Gifting Series is where I try to giveback, in my own little handmade way, to the people in my life that are important to me. All Gifting posts can be seen here.

Back in the summer, Amanda of Heartbeet Kitchen gifted me a copy of her book, Smitten with Squash. I was so touched by her kindness (but not surprised, she is very kind) and very grateful to have some support in tackling all the summer squash I was harvesting. (Note for next year: Don't plant three rows of squash!) In return, I wanted to send a little kindness back to her way and decided to do so by gifting her an handmade apron. I kept my fingers crossed Amanda is of the same mentality as me in that you can never have too many aprons. Sure, you have favorites, but back-ups are needed, like when you have guests over and they want to pitch in with the cooking or one is in the wash.

I used my own tutorial for the Butcher's Apron, modifying it slightly, like I did with my own apron earlier this year. The fabric is an organic duck cloth, which looks a bit like linen. The print is a sweet vintage inspired floral. When I reopen the shop, I think I'll be offering similar ones.

 

Yarn Along : Knitting and Reading

I’m joining in Yarn Along this week hosted by Ginny of Small Things. It’s the chance for those of us who love knitting and reading to share what project is currently on our needles and which book we have our noses buried in. And I personally add what music I’ve been listening to as well.

Knitting : Right now, I'm working on my sixth pair of socks for The Challenge. Melissa generously gifted me the pattern Irish Oats, which was perfect since I had two skeins of Quince and Co. Chickadee. So far the socks are coming along well and are easily the fanciest pair I've made, with the textured cables and moss stitch running up the front. I'm making excellent progress on them which attests to the enjoyment of the pattern. (I'm also knitting a lot for some original patterns!)

Reading : As I mentioned in an Instagram post, I was gifted an impressive stack of books this Christmas. The first book I got into was The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook and it's a beauty! I want to meet all of these sheep and feel their woolly goodness!

Listening : I've been enjoying discovering new artists via Spotify playlists lately. Top songs to check out include: Cover Me Up, Hell's Bells, Gun in My Hand, Fur Coat Blues, End of the Affair and Devil is All Around

PS : A reminder that Deneise is offering a cabinfour sock pattern to one of the Monthly Sock Challenge participants. If you aren't already, now is a great time to join in the Month Sock Challenge! I started this challenge in August to knit a pair of socks every month. You are welcome to join in for a month or just here and there or join me through the whole year. The only solid rule is to try to complete your pair of socks within the one month time frame. Read more and add links here.

2015 Craft Goals

Every year, I give into the lure of making resolutions even though I am terrible at keeping them. There is something about the fresh beginning and the hopeful expanse of a "new" year. I have a handful of personal goals but I'd like to once again share my craft goals with you here. Last year, I shared my 2014 goals, which I leniently called "hopes" and am happy to look back and see that I accomplished a handful of them. Considering the year I had, I find that something to be proud of. Now, onward to what I hope to achieve in 2015! My main goal is to learn all I possibly can about wool and fibers. But more specifically, I hope to:

design knitting patterns.
set up a dye studio in the barn.
achieve new colors when dyeing yarn (like greens, reds and blues, in particular.)
as well as experiment with more plant sources.
spin yarn.
open up the Buckaloo View shop.
and finally, make soap.

What craft goals do YOU have for 2015?

 

PS : I've created a Buckaloo View group on Ravelry and would be honored if you joined. I hope it's a place where we can chat about natural dyeing, patterns and yarns I release and general knitting/fiber talk. I'll also be looking for testers for patterns and yarns in the future via the group. (Actually, I'm hoping that sometime this week I can open call for testing my very first pattern!) AND... there is a thread there to chat about and share sneak peeks for the Mystery Hat Swap! (So far we have over 30 participants!)

 

3 Questions Round Up

Last year, I started a series I called 3 Questions, which was just that: me asking three completely random questions to an inspiring person as well as sharing three photos that showed Who they are, What they make or do and Where they are the happiest. My original plan was to make it a weekly series that would run for the full year. Life threw some curve balls my way and at busy times it was hard to get a hold of people, so I only got to feature 33 creatives in the end. But these 33 are great ones. I feel very grateful and honored to share a bit about them here. I do hope you'll take some time to visit them--I know you'll find them inspiring as well. To these 33 women, thank you all for taking the time to join in and for being you! (All 3 Question posts can be seen here.)

Monthly Sock Challenge : 5 of 12

You really can't browse Ravelry or the the knitting community without running into Hermione's Everyday Socks. I can finally say I've knit a pair myself and can see why they are so popular. Mine were knit up in Knit Pick's Stroll in the "Rainforest Heather" colorway and knit with a size 1 needle, which I'm pretty sure is the smallest I've worked with yet. (More specifics can be found at Ravelry.) Next month I hope to remember to try out this technique to avoid the little bumps I get when grafting toes. Do you have any other little sock knitting tricks?

Also, a heads up that January is a giveaway month for Monthly Sock Challenge participants! Every three months, I draw from all the previous entries in the linky and give away a prize. This month, Deneise of cabinfour is generously offering a sock pattern of the winner's choice and I'll pair that with a $25 gift certificate to one of my favorite yarn shops, Quince and Co. So get knitting those socks and submitting them to the linky! (I've added a few more specifics in regards to rules. I'm also no longer embedding the linky in these posts. You can find it at the MSC page here.)