Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Year of Using What I Have

          I am very blessed, in many ways. I am lucky to have wonderful friends and family, and I am rich in beautiful yarn, fiber, kits, and craft supplies. I’ve been collecting craft supplies since I was a kid, and really got into it in high school and college. Between thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets, the time I spent working at a yarn shop, and gifts from friends and family (including inheriting things from the crafty women in my life), I have more than enough to keep me busy for a good long while. 

         I recently moved and was reacquainted with a large portion of my craft supplies, not to mention other belongings. I feel a bit overwhelmed, as I’m still unpacking. And really, the same thing could be said of many aspects of my life--beauty products, books, clothes, everything. The past few years I’ve been reading a lot about minimalism and decluttering. I’ve pared down my wardrobe quite a bit and I've even cleared out a large number of books (the thought used to make me shudder). I’m usually pretty intentional about what I bring into my home and life, but it has added up over the years. So I’ve decided that this year will be the Year of Using What I Have. I will do my best to use up the hand lotion, makeup, nail polish, yarn, fabric, fiber, craft supplies, books, magazines, clothes, shoes, kitchen tools and even food that I already have, before I buy more. It’s not that I can’t buy any yarn or anything until I’ve used up what I have, but I have to be mindful about it. I just have so much of everything, and I would like to use all of it.
       So, I pledge to do my best to use up and clear out my things. I also pledge to use my belongings; if there are things I don't use, for whatever reason, I will evaluate why they are in my life. The smell of that hand lotion isn't as nice as I thought it was? Time to give it to someone who likes the scent. Those shoes that pinch, the dress that rides up? Gone. The yarn that I don't love anymore but my friend would adore it? Gifted. Paring down will give me more time and space for the things I do love. Also, I was recently thinking about my creative habits as a kid. Some of my best creations came from figuring out the best way to use what I had on hand. While I do want to have the leeway to purchase new tools or materials when needed, there is something to be said for challenging myself to use what I have. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hummingbird Socks

   As mentioned in my previous post, I spun the yarn and knit a pair of socks for my grandmother's birthday.

Fiber: Sweet Georgia Superwash BFL on Hummingbird, 4 ounces. I divided the fiber in half lengthwise and spun each half, then chain-plied each single to keep the colors together as much as possible. 

I ended up with about 315 yards total, which was enough for a pair of socks, but I should have been more careful while  spinning. My second skein didn't have quite enough yarn to complete the sock, so I had to rip back the first one. 

Pattern: On Hold Socks by Wendy D. Johnson, from the book Socks From the Toe Up
Yarn: 3 ply BFL handspun in Hummingbird, approximately 315 yards, heavy fingering weight
Needles: US Size 1 circular needles

 I'm happy to report my grandmother loved them!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hello Again

Over a year and a half ago! Hello, to any readers who are left. The days are long, but the years are short, and oh what changes they have brought. My life looks very different these days. I am still making things and I look forward to sharing them with you, including the backlog. So let’s start fresh, shall we? 

Here is a smattering of things I've made in the last few months:

S'mores birthday cake for my brother (recipe from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook)

Eden Prairie Shawl, for my mom for Christmas
Pattern: Eden Prairie
Yarn: madelinetosh merino light, one skein each onyx, oak, sequoia, and winter wheat
Needles: US size 5 circular needles

This pattern is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's designs. My mom and I love his work, so when I saw this pattern I knew I had to make it for her. The construction is very interesting but also easy. 

   I made these gloves with conductive thread fingertips for my boyfriend for Christmas.

Pattern: Ginger and Wasabi gloves (Knitty pattern); sewed conductive thread to index fingertips and right thumb
Yarn: Shibui Knits Cima in charcoal, 1 skein (I came very close to running out); Zauberball Crazy in blue/green/black, 1 skein (probably about half a skein, as I used the other half to make my brother a hat)
Needles: US size 1.5 

   Today is my grandmother's birthday. I come from a family with a lot of crafty women, and my grandmother is one of them. When I was eight or so she taught me how to crochet, but I could only remember how to chain. So the next time I saw her I handed her a big pile of chained stitches. She taught me how to knit the summer before I went off to college, and knitting helped me get through homesickness and the stress of classes and work. So I am working on a very special present for her, which I hope to have finished soon and will share here when it's done.