Sunday, March 1, 2015

Spring cleaning

Well March is in like a lion. It snowed another 5 inches last night, but at least there wasn't any ice. It also felt almost -warm- outside this morning. I mean, it was 20 degrees, but that's warmer than last week when the high was 4 and the windchill was well into the negatives. Yesterday I kicked Brad & Olivia out of the house for a little while. We're all feeling better, but this past week and a half we've basically all been sitting inside the house feeling sick and grumpy, and it was way to cold to go anywhere anyway. I started to get a little claustrophobic - I love them both, but 6 days of 24 contact in close quarters was starting to wear on me. Plus the house was very, uh, lived in, since Olivia is a little chaos machine and neither Brad or I felt good enough to stay on top of cleaning. Brad took Olivia to the gym's free daycare for two hours. He's still feeling too sick to work out, but he hung out in the cafe with the free wi-fi for a while (have I mentioned our gym has daycare and a cafe? Its awesome.) I got two hours to watch all the cheesy shows I wanted, catch up on laundry and dishes, and sort and organize and vacuum all to myself (wild and crazy, I know.) But it was nice to just be by myself in the house for a while, it rarely happens anymore. I ended up organizing all my yarn and craft stuff. Which was actually really nice, since usually my organization is more or less keep away from Olivia, and where can I stash this stuff out of the way? I sorted my yarns, mostly by volume, with all the odds and ends together, and I got all my WIPs together so I can more clearly see what I have and how far along I am. (I'm getting a tad bit of start-itis for summer knits, so I'm trying to make myself think through what I've got going before I start ordering yarn like crazy.)

Some of theses stitch markers I already owned, but I got this great little kit from my MIL for christmas that has a ton of stitch markers, as well as other tools, like a darning needle, cable needle, seam ripper and tweezers. I used the little case to organize all my stitch markers, and it looks like I'll never have to buy any again!

This is my little craft sections. All those blue boxes hold (now sorted!) yarn. The bookshelf we picked up at Walmart for less than $20. I'd love to have it on the floor and have more desk space, but then again, Olivia would rip it to shreds. She can already reach the edge of the table, so I can't even leave stuff lying out there. The black and white & pink & cream cases hold sewing odds and ends. I've hot got the summer sewing bug yet, but I've got a lot of stuff I plan on sewing, so a dedicated area in the house is nice. This is actually the dining area, and dining table I've co-opted, but we never use either for their intended purpose. I'd like to get a baby gate to keep Olivia out so I could block knits on the floor or lay out sewing patterns eventually. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Handmade Purchases

A weekly round-up of either things I've purchased that are local/handmade, or want to purchase. Items will vary depending on cash flow, and how much stuff I want to accumulate. I have bought a lot recently, though. I'm planning on blogging more regularly, so I want this to be a weekly installment.

I grabbed these flowers at Whole Foods for Valentine's day. If you follow me on Instagram you've seen the whole caption already, but it reads "These Whole Trade Alliance flowers were grown on a Rainforest Alliance farm in Colombia where conservation of natural resources and the welfare of workers are supported. Your purchase contributes to community development funds that will support healthcare, education, and housing programs in the farm workers' communities." Very cool! And the flowers last for a good while too. Usually anything that isn't carnation's seem to wilt pretty fast, at least in my house (maybe I just have a black thumb?) But these have lasted very nearly two weeks now, which is noteworthy for me. 

Candles with a Cause are something I've been wanting to buy for a while, nearly a year. We -love- candles at our house, and go through them super fast. The reason I made the plunge just recently is because they started selling them at the Whole Foods right next to my house (hey, I like my conscientious purchases with a side of convenience.) They do run a little pricey, but they're made locally from recycled wine bottles from restaurants, and 25% of net profits from each go to a different charity. You can see the one I got donates to our local Goodale Park, but there are a bunch of different charities word wide that benefit.

This tee I got from Alison Rose, a local screenprinter and designer in Columbus. Not surprising, most of their stuff is Ohio themed, but they have some cool non-Ohio specific ones too. If you purchase it from their site you'll be redirected to purchase it through Etsy, but the shipping is super fast. The tee blanks are American Apparel, so they're made in America -and SUPER soft. (AA can be a bit problematic, especially when it comes to their advertising practices, but since the shirts don't say anything about AA on them, and they are made in America & sweatshop free so, I figure it evens out to buy one directly from a local company.)

I got this wallet off of Etsy by seller WyndMill. I wanted a small mens-style wallet that I could stick in my pants or jacket pocket that wouldn't be super bulky for when I didn't want to take my whole purse with me. This one is made of waxed canvas and has two pockets, and I love the navy and cream colors. I wanted something non leather for longevity, and this is perfect. So far is has been very sturdy. 

I also bought this ring on Etsy from DoubleB jewelry, as a belated anniversary gift for myself (our engagement anniversary is Feb 18th). What I liked best about Double B, and you can see from the photo, is that I could get our wedding anniversary date engraved on the ring. Several times now, someone has asked our wedding date, and I've said the wrong date. (To be fair, my brother's birthday is June 16th, and we got married on June 8th. I've had a brother a lot longer than I've been married, so the date 'June 16th' just kind of rolls off my tongue.) The ring runs a tad small, so I'm not sure I'll be able to get it off without lots of soap and water, but its not uncomfortable, and at least this way I won't lose it ;) They also had some thinner options, but I prefer thick rings. 

Apropos of nothing, this also happened. So if you don't see more picture of my house, it's because I'm busy cleaning up. All the time, basically. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Summer Breeze

The cold this past week has been untenable, and at this point I am just dreaming of warming weather. I got some super soft cotton blend Comfy yarn, and I used it to cast on this classic Sketchbook Cardi. It's a pretty classic cardigan, but I figured with stripes in creme brulee and whisker it's be perfect for summer over a tank or tee (or a sundress).

Tomorrow is my sister's birthday, so we all went out to eat. Brad's got just a touch of pneumonia, and I'm recovering from bronchitis, but we still wanted to go out with everyone. We took Olivia, and met my mom, my aunt, my sister, my brother, and my brother's new girlfriend whom we got to meet for the first time. My cousin Elizabeth is in town for the week so we got to see her too. We all went out to Olive Garden, and it was the fon, loud chaos you hope to have at family gatherings. I finally got to give mom her scarf from Christmas, and while I'm still working on my sister's sweater, I did whip her up some cat-themed mittens. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Color Affection completion

I finished my mom's Color Affection! Blocked and everything. I ended up extending the stripes, so the scarf is thinner than normal, and a little more asymmetrical, but I like the way it turned out a lot.

I cast on Allison's sweater, and I'm knitting it in the round, but it's still not going too fast, since the front side is all cables. Since the weather has been so nice recently, and I'm sick of knitting sweaters, I added some summer stuff to my queue. I bought yarn for the lovely Stitch Block Cowl first, as well as yarn for this Diamond Kerchief, and the Paris Sweater. I got some really awesome deep green for the kerchief, and the linen/cotton blend Lindy Chain for the Paris Sweater (I think that'll make it really classy & drapey, as well as light enough to wear all year.) No I just have to stop myself from casting anything else on before my yarn gets here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nicks and Knacks

A bunch of little things have happened this month, and I think combined they all equal a blog post.

I made this jewelry dish out of air-dry clay and copper acrylic paint. 

I got this *beautiful* yarn bowl from Andersen Pottery on Etsy.

I made this little Twin Lens Reflex Camera from a kit at Photojojo. (One of my non-knitting resolutions this year is to shoot more film.)

This is a fair-trade, handmade journal from recycled paper from Raven + Lily. Love the fern pattern!
The pen is hand-turned from DNWoodCrafters on Etsy as well.

These are commissioned arm-knit infinity scarves for two of my mom's coworkers. The yarn is a Merino wool/Nylon blend from KnitPicks. So cozy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

First FO of the year!

I finally finished my catkin. It actually turned out great, and not at all what I was expecting. That Galileo yarn stretches a lot. I swatched before hand, but I think it overstretched even that. And I didn't even pin it! I washed it and laid it out to dry.  It would be really beautiful on a shawl with a lace pattern (...must resist urge to add to my queue). Definitely not for me in terms of garment knitting, though.

I used gosling and comfrey for this. About 4 balls of gosling and 2 balls of comfrey. I only went about 60% of chart A on the edging, before doing a garter stitch edging and calling it quits. (I had to end this thing, put myself out of my misery.)  This is going in a box tomorrow to get shipped out to my Aunt for a belated Christmas gift.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

I'd rather look forward to next year than do a recap. Not that 2014 was bad, it was actually pretty good, but I'm more of a look-a-head than a nostalgia person. The older Olivia gets the more I like her, and I'm glad I got a job this year, as that pretty much saved my sanity (plus its a job I actually like, so even better!) We did technically move in to this apartment last year, but since we've only been here about 3 weeks it feels like my last apartment was 2014, and this apartment is our 2015 one. I'm excited about starting school next week (well, its only one class, but its the start of starting school, so thats big).

As far as craft things go, I'm surprised at myself that when I lined up all my plans for this next year, I had more sewing goals than knitting goals. Which, I know my knitting always slows down during the summer, and while I'm an accomplished knitter (if I do say so myself), I'm still fairly a beginner sew-er, so that is a skill I want to get better at. Especially when it comes to garment sewing I really don't want something that looks handmade, I want it to look like its store bought. Plus sewing is a little more versatile in that I make a larger variety of sewn things than knit things. So:

Rather than the A-line coat I picked out, I want to use that houndstooth fleece for this cape/wrap. I think it'll be great to wear over fancy dresses in the winter. I also love this 3-season trench from Vogue. That'll really push my sewing skills, but I want to give it a try anyway. I'm really into the dress-casual look lately. Not only do I think it looks great, but its also awesome for a smaller wardrobe. I love wearing button up shirts and nice pants. On that note, I already own this Thurlow trouser pattern, and I want to make more use of it this year (also, if I sew some of these in a sturdy double-knit, I bet they'd be incredibly comfy, too). I actually made a pair earlier this year, and they fit beautifully, but I committed a cardinal sin of not pre-washing my fabric, and they ended up a solid size too small (sob). But now I know I can do it, at least. As far as the small wardrobe goes, I want to churn out several sets of these Mary Knickers and Baseball singlets by Measure Twice as undergarments. I know sewing a set of plain white tees sounds boring, and probably is, but they'll be incredibly functional, so. And if I'm feeling especially adventurous (and magically have lots of free time) I'd like to try my hand at bra sewing and shoemaking, but I'm not officially putting those on my list, as I could probably spend a whole year on just those two.

For knitting I want to make a couple more vests, like my Splitstone, to wear over those button ups I love so much. This button front vest is a nice alternate to a pullover one. I also am into stranded colorwork at the moment, and this argyle vest is really pretty (fortuitously, I already have the yarn, I just need the time to knit it). I also want to knit 6 pairs of wearable socks this year. I was going to do a dozen, but I didn't want to commit to a pair a month right off the bat. I feel like this way I have a little more flexibility if I decide to to some fancier socks. Fair warning, I'll probably be knitting a decent amount of plain black socks to go with my work clothes, but I'd also like to whip out some color work in socks as well, like these argyle ones. (I really like argyle, OK?)

Yesterday Amazon had a big sale on a lot of digital books, and I picked up Knit Your Socks On Straight for $1.99, so I'll be trying out some of those techniques on my sock knitting as well. I also got Cast On, Bind Off, which I've heard knitting raving about for years, so I figured it was time to check it out myself.

Happy 2015!