I’ve had a glorious summer, and I hope all of you have as well!
Last week, I was sitting with a friend, and she asked me “do you read blogs anymore?” and it made me think about my blog reading habits and my blog writing habits.
My reading habits: I read some blogs casually, mostly when I see them pop up in a Facebook feed. But, there aren’t any that I subscribe to and read religiously. I’ve become more accustomed to listening to podcasts on my commute and getting short snippets on Instagram. I will also turn to blog information if I need to learn a new technique, and one of the google results happens to be a blog.
My Writing Habits: I’ve found myself writing blogs about things that I don’t necessarily go to blogs for. I tend to write about current projects, yarn acquisitions, and other fiber related stuff. I enjoy exploring the political aspects of crafting and making, but that can only provide so much content.
My Question for readers: How often do you read craft-related blogs? Why do you read them? Would you be more interested in the type of content that I offer in another format (podcast, just IG or FB)? Would you be interested in more instructional content (e.g. sharing techniques that work/don’t work for me)? I don’t think I’m ready to let this space go completely, but I think I am ready for it to take on a new shape.
And now, just a few photos of some of the things I’ve been up to this summer:
I’ve been knitting shawls, I’ve taught myself to embroider and crochet, and I’m diving into more weaving. Lots of exciting things!
Last week was the LYS Tour in the Puget Sound. I didn’t make it to as many shops as I had hoped, but I stopped at some of my favorites. I tried to show restraint, but some yarn and fiber was just too lovely to resist.
Tolt Yarn and Wool
Fiber from Homestead Hobbyist (Mad Cow Yarn)
From Weaving Works for a small weaving project.
I also managed to start a few new things and get some yarn finished over the weekend.
Dyed yellow and gray braid for my Etsy shop.
Doing a little knitting in the sunshine and my new mug from Spincycle Yarns.
New handspun shawl on the needles. The pattern is the Quaker Yarn Stretcher by Susan Ashcroft.
3-ply natural gray Finn yarn. 150 yards, 2.9oz. This was super lovely spin, and it made a really smooth, dense yarn. Also available in my Etsy shop.
Spring has, seemingly, finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest. The winter was very wet and very long this year, and making really helped carry me through. I am, happily, continuing my making trend as spring rolls in.
Spinning – It is hard to explain how much I’ve been enjoying my spinning over the past few weeks. It is giving me such a sense of relaxation, and I’m just loving these yarns that I am creating.
This yellow roving is seriously like knitting up the sunshine ☀️
I picked up 2+ pounds of alpaca roving from a local farmer who is retiring. It was a bargain, but now I’m wondering what on earth to do with all of this alpaca!
I finished my Hitchhiker Beyond scarf/shawl out of handspun. This process was so incredibly satisfying, and I’m so happy with the result.
A little more handspun…
A 3-ply Corriedale cross that I spun and dyed in logwood. (Etsy listing here)
Dyeing – I’ve been dyeing up a storm. Mostly, I’ve been listing on Etsy, but I’m also keeping some for myself.
Roving dyed with logwood
Madder dyed yarn
Acid dyed roving
Knitting – Nothing big on the needles, but lots of little things. I’ve been in production-mode; I’ve been knitting for a local mill owner to sell finished items at the farmers market.
And just for fun, some snapshots of the garden/homestead
Find me on Instagram and Facebook @yarnbob
I am continuing to experience a great deal of making-mojo.
I finished 388 yards of handspun from a braid that I bought from Three Waters Farm. The colors are outside of my usual comfort zone, but I really love it.
I have been more motivated to explore bread-making recently. There’s something so satisfying about being able to make bread. I used the recipe for challah from the latest issue of Taproot Magazine, and I am so happy with how it came out. I’m looking for more recipes to try, so any suggestions are totally appreciated.
Little One was on spring break last week, so I took a few hours while she was relaxing to sit back down at my sewing machine. The pattern for this is the Lil’ Knot Bag. The top stitching around the handles was a little tricky, but I’m pretty happy with the result. It was nice to sit back down at my machine, and this project was a good one for working on some skills. It was much more manageable than some of my other endeavors at the sewing machine have been. After a little more practice, these might appear in my Etsy shop. I’m still developing the direction I’d like to take my shop in, but I have some ideas in the works.
I’m working on some mitts from handspun. Working with handspun has been hugely satisfying for me lately, as well.
I also found these super cute little charms at the craft store the other week, so I made some stitch markers. I bought some extra, and they’re available on my Etsy shop. I’m getting ready to do some yarn and fiber dyeing, so keep an eye out for updates!
It’s been a little while since I’ve made an FO post. It’s not for lack of FOs, really, but more a lack of things to say about them.
I finished my Oats cowl. I needed some basics, so this is the first piece of some everyday scarves and cowls I’m adding to my wardrobe. The yarn is Malabrigo Rios. It took me quite a while to finish, but it was an easy project to pick up and put down.
I finished some fiber that I was hoarding for spinning on my new wheel. This is 4.9oz of a BFL in the Hummingbird colorway. It was a nice spin (although a bit of a slog toward the end), and I am pretty pleased with the result. My plan is to use it with some dark brown handspun for a brioche project.
I also finished a few hats for some friends and others who are participating in some marches that are coming up.
I’ve got quite a few more projects in progress and lots of goodies to work with, so hopefully I’ll have a lot more to share in the coming weeks.
I’ve been seeing quite a few of these little tapestry/wall-hangings on Instagram lately. Initially, I wasn’t quite sure about them, but I was finding myself compelled to make one. My last Fibre Share partner sent me this tiny loom, so I decided to give it a try. Thankfully, I also found a set of quick classes on Creativebug that explained several of the techniques that are helpful for getting started, adding the fancy bits, and for finishing off the project. I would highly recommend this class for beginners, like me, or for someone who is interested in dabbling in a new fiber craft.
This little project was so much fun, I decided to order a slightly larger frame loom. I think this is going to be a great way to use up the scraps that I just can’t seem to throw away.
Lately, my focus on projects for myself has shifted a bit to making items for friends and doing some sample knitting for the fiber mill on the island. Despite being busy with the day job/career and a part-time passion gig, I’ve finished a few projects that I am excited to have finished.
My Hudson Shawl is done! I finished it just in time for a snowy day too. The yarn is Cascade Eco. The blue was some neutral colored that I ended up dyeing because it really needed the fourth color (which I hadn’t originally planned for). The stripes and eyelets are a bit out of my comfort zone, but I really like it.
This brioche hat (Vanilla Fog) was quick and a good introduction to decreasing in brioche. I had a Craftsy class on brioche in my library that I found quite helpful. After this, I think I’ll be ready for some two-color brioche!
I also pulled my first weaving project off my loom. It is uneven in spots, but I am pretty happy with it overall. I used some of the handspun that I dyed with onion skins during the summer for the weft and Cascade 220 for the warp.
Admittedly, I’ve been a bit distracted lately. The current political changes are stressing me out a bit. I am trying to remember to keep calm and knit on, because there’s not a whole lot that stressing out will do to help.
So, what am I working on?
I’m test knitting a cowl with some of the beautiful Josef & Anni yarn from Abundant Earth Fiber. This is my first time test knitting, so it has been fun and educational.
I’m still plugging away at my Hudson Shawl. I’ve made it to the knitted on edging, which is a new technique for me. I can’t wait to bundle myself up in this.
I started spinning some Cormo that I had gifted myself from Sincere Sheep around the holidays. It is like spinning a cloud; it is so soft and airy!
I finished up a small cowl out of some Sweet Fiber Cashmerino that I won from a knit along. I think I stretched a little too much when I was blocking, but it is super soft and I like the pattern (Eterntiy Scarf from Brooklyn Tweed).
A little handspun also made it into the finished bin
Inspired by the marches taking place around the world today, I have been thinking a lot about how to continue supporting the long fight that is ahead of us. It seemed appropriate for this forum to discuss how I can use my crafty dollars to make a statement and support the causes that I believe in. Given that crafting is largely associated with women (for better or for worse), we can really use the things we buy and the things we make to bring attention to the causes that are important to us. I know I spend hundreds of dollars each year on my crafty habits, and I want to make sure that money is going to businesses that promote women and women’s issues. More than that, I want to make sure that I am not putting my money into the hands of businesses that are actively working against minority groups and/or women.
Disclaimer: there are all types of businesses and organizations, and these are causes that I believe in; do your research and support the ones that promote the values you see as important.
- Shop with businesses that give a portion of their proceeds from their sales on a certain item to an organization that you support. I’ve recently found multiple Etsy sellers and Pin Cause, who give a potion of their sales to organizations like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.
- Shop with local businesses. There are multiple locally owned businesses, which are also owned and/or run by women, who have shown their support in the fight for equal rights. They were collection points for the Pussy Hat Project, gave discounts on pink yarn, and openly supported the march and movement. I know some businesses prefer to stay quiet in politics for fear of losing their customer base, so it is important to support the ones that take a stand to support things that you believe in. I am proud to give them my money and will continue to shop with them long after the marches are over. Some of these businesses are: Weaving Works, Knitty Purls, Bizarre Girls and Whidbey Isle Yarns and Teas, among others.
- Not all of us have access to amazing local stores, but do your research on the big box stores or major online retailers that you shop with. Make sure they are not funneling their money toward organizations or causes that are in opposition to what you support. There are certain big box stores where I will not shop because I do not agree with the way they treat their employees or their stances on women and minorities.
- Donate your handmade items when you can. There are a lot of charity knitting organizations. Do your research, and find a place where your crafty talents will be appreciated. I have knitted items to donate to cancer patients, babies in the NICU, and to moms who have lost babies because they are near to my heart.
- Display the items that you buy in a place where people can see them. I have my buttons displayed on my knitting bag that goes just about everywhere with me. I also spent time knitting Pussy Hats in public. It can also show people that share your views that they are not alone; this can be an isolating time for a lot of people. Talk about them and discuss your views openly with the people who ask. This is a time where respectful, open dialogue is important.
I’ve added lots of new, fun things to my stash as of late, so I thought I would share some highlights.
Knit Picks order (actually, I did two, but they were in such close succession that I am counting them as one). They were running a promotion that with a purchase over $50 you could choose a free tote. I did not NEED a new tote, but this one just suited me so well. I also stocked up on some Wool of the Andes in a few different weights and some cotton yarn to do some weaving with. I am planning on a small blanket for the husband and some hand towels. The box of yarn is a bit intimidating to look at, but it does bring me a lot of joy.
After Christmas and getting my loom, I did a pretty big
I’ve also done a little shopping on Etsy. I got some gorgeous fiber and a few spinning tools. The fiber and larger wraps per inch tool are from a shop called Hipstrings, and the smaller wraps per inch tool (to replace one that I mysteriously misplaced somewhere in my house) is from A Rock and A Tree. I am quite excited to try spinning with some fiber that has yak in it!
This fiber was purchased in a moment of total weakness at Mad Cow Yarn. It is from a local dyer, The Homestead Hobbyist, and I just couldn’t resist the fiber content and the subtle color changes. I hope that this can become a cowl or a shawl once I’ve spun it up.
Lastly, I got to visit a new LYS: The Nifty Knitter. It is located in Issaquah, WA and has been open since about November. I had a few extra minutes between clients, so I was able to pop in for some yarn for hats for the #pussyhatproject. It is a small, but very charming location. The yarn is well-organized by brand, so it was easy to figure out what is there. The aesthetic of the store was very cute, a little retro, and very organized. All of the colors within a brand were organized, so it was easy to find what I needed. The selection of yarns was nice, and I expect that it’ll grow. There was also some locally dyed yarn, which always makes my heart a little happier. I am not out in that direction often, but it is definitely worth stopping at when I am.