My Creative Inspirations

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Recently, I was asked by lovely Melody (Mandarine’s is her blog and it is absolutely stunning!) to participate in a fun blog hop and answer some questions about inspirations, creative processes, and why I do what I do!

I thought these questions were really interesting and I enjoyed answering them! They questions that are really intriguing to think about!

Question 1: What am I working on?

Sadly, I know I could go on for days talking about the things I have on the needles. But being in college and having my solid knitting time pretty much chopped in half (if not more! *sad face*) I’ve become more monogamous (though not 100%.. or even 80%, haha!) So, I mainly consider things I’m working on things that I’m always thinking about, and are in rotation of what I might bring with me to class or not (depending the size :-P) I’m working on the Bellows Cardigan as a KAL with my mom; the Monte Rosa hat pattern, and a Tunisian crochet blanket.

I also have some pattern ideas in mind… I’m feeling the need to make some mittens, but with flaps for the thumbs and fingers. Because its impossible to text with mittens on! Which is sad, because if you have adorable handspun mittens you knit and you have text messages to answer, you have to constantly take them on and off! Which only results in cold hands, haha. I know there are patterns out there with these design elements. But none of them seemed to fit the gauge I wanted or the construction didn’t make sense! I’m really excited about this! I love the look of handspun mittens, and I definitely have more than enough handspun to make multiple pairs :-P

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Question 2: How does my work differ from others?

I wouldn’t say that my work is so much different than anyone else’s. Everyone crafts in their own way, unique to themselves. Same thing with writing, people write in a way that is special to them! One thing that may set me apart (though there are a lot of us out there) is my age and how that affects how I approach crafting and writing. Not a good or bad a thing, but something that definitely affects what I do!

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Question 3: Why do I write/create what I do?

To me, knitting, crocheting, spinning, any kind of crafting, is a form of art, its a form of expression (a wooly wonderful form of expression :-P) Knitting and writing are things that are familiar and comfortable to me. I go to them when I need Me Time or need to cool my jets. The idea of having something that I’ve made and can use when I’m done! Theres nothing quite as comforting has going to take a hard test or do something difficult with having a hand knit cowl or sweater (or both!) on. Knitting can have memories woven into each stitch. Good ones, bad ones… Both are encouraging! The good ones for obvious reasons, haha. But also the bad ones because you can look back and see what you’ve gone through, how you made out alive, despite the tremendous difficulty… reminding you that its not the end of the story! The project is finished… you survived! I wear some of my cowls and sweaters and am reminded that God is faithful, He brought me through my hard times.

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Question 4: How does my writing/creative process work?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself to be inspired by more and more things… big and little! It could be anything like groups of colors together, something in nature, pictures of knitting, things people have made or more seemingly-random things like reactions of people I’ve observed, sounds or music, or things I’ve read! Another thing I do when I write, is I try and write in a way that is similar to the way I talk (minus the occasional grammatical errors :-P) I, personally, enjoy reading blogs that write in a conversational manner. So, I try and write in a way that seems more like a chat that might be happening at a yarn store during a knit group :-)

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Thanks again to Melody for inviting me to do the blog hop… even though I’m almost a week late (this past week was absolutely insane with school. So many things due and tests!!) This was a little glimpse into my creative process!

Being creative is such a joyful and happy thing. Its fun to see how everyone does it differently!

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(picture taken at Yarntopia! If you’re in the Katy, Texas area, check it out!!)

Tour de Fleece 2014 Progress

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve been spinning up a storm. I have high goals. Or ideas of goals, that it would be really cool to be able to say that I did accomplish them.

I have quite a bit of stashed fiber that I’d like to clear out. Not because I want to get rid of it, but because the colors are so pretty and I want to use it! Agh!

Ultimately, I’d like to spin a skein a day. Its ending up that I can crank out one in an evening and the first half of the next day. So, about a day? Just not within the outline of one day ;-P

As of today, I’ve spun 6 skeins and 1,174 yards for the 2014 Tour de Fleece. And these are all plied numbers, so I’ve spun more than double that in singles. Whoop!

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The one on the left is some fiber that I’m not sure where I got… but its pretty fun! Thats 160yds of a 2-ply and it is being sold at Yarntopia (my LYS and also where I’m interning this summer!) On the right is a Loop Bullseye Bump in the Forest Nymph colorway. I got 148yds of an N-ply. Another one that is being sold at Yarntopia!

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Probably my favorite so far! This is Malabrigo Nube in the Arco Iris colorway. I got 254yds of an N-ply. Haha, not selling this one… its too pretty and soft!!

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This is Two if By Hand in the Bean Feast colorway. I got 224yds of a 2-ply! I finished it on Friday, brought it to work with me on Monday, and it was snatched up (Hi Loretta! :-P)! It was a gorgeous skein and I’m glad it went to a good home!

I’ve also spun up two other skeins that I haven’t had time to photograph yet.. both need baths. One will be coming to be sold at Yarntopia, the other one, I spun for my mom! But I got 194yds for each one of those skeins. Both are a 2-ply.

Now I’m about to go put a braid of Three Waters Farm on the wheel! I’m so excited about this one! I got this one for Christmas and have been saving it! Now the time has come!

I love it when the Tour comes around. In addition to National Knit a Sweater in a Month time and the knitting goals that go along with the Olympics (so much drama about the name, my goodness… you guys know what I’m talking about!) the Tour de Fleece is the best. No question!

Tour de Fleece Prep and Practice (plus finished yarn!!)

Tour de Fleece is coming up, you guys! Its getting closer every day! (I’m a wee bit excited, if you couldn’t tell. I’ve mentioned it quite a bit recently, heehee)

You might be a bit confused as to what Tour de Fleece is. Sounds kinda weird. I’m probably not helping by obsessing about it, haha. Its not in English… for the most part (hint: its French!) But! If you’re familiar with the Tour de France, its basically the same thing! Just minus being in France and actually riding bikes, haha.

Spinners (and knitters… All the crafters!) dedicate the time of the Tour de France (which is July 5th to July 27th this year) to spin every day that the bikers are trekking along the French countryside. In greater detail, we even follow the days: Time trial days, we see how much we can do within a set time. Climbing days, we see how many yards we can do in a day. Challenge day (which is when they climb their biggest mountain), we spin something challenging. And last, but not least, the rest days, we rest (Which is July 15th and July 21st)

Then, if we want to, we can wear yellow on the last day to be victorious. Because… by the end, you’re feeling mighty fine about all the work you’ve done, how much better your spinning is, and now you have all this marvelous handspun to either knit with or give away!

I think I’ve said this before, but this is definitely one of my favorite knitting/fiber events. It means all the spinning, getting to look at gorgeous fiber (end up getting some of said gorgeous fiber, probably too much, but we won’t go there. I know I have a problem, so its all okay. #noshame)

The planning. Oh, the planning. Its so much fun! I have lots of plans. Lots of fun fiber. I’ll make a post soon with lots of links and pictures and happiness.

I don’t have everything I’m doing documented quite yet, but I’ll give you a sample picture of all my options for possible spinning…

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Yes, yes. I already admitted to having a problem, okay? No need to dwell on things. #noshame #nojudging

In the meantime, until the Tour starts, its time to start the prep and begin practicing! Believe it or not, people have actually injured themselves by jumping in on the first day and spinning for hours and hours. I speak the truth. It has happened. Not to me, but I’ve heard stories. (the non-knitters/spinners probably laughed at that. You did, didn’t you? Don’t deny it. I saw that smile. Its okay, haha. I laughed too… and still do :-P)

So, some of my practice is this!

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This is 845 glorious yards of a 2-ply from 8oz of fiber (colorway: Baby, Its Cold Outside) that I got from Dawn of Daybreak Dyeworks! (She’s currently getting ready for a big wool market, so her shop don’t have anything in it. But keep checking back! Its all gorgeous and SO amazing! Plus, Dawn is one of the sweetest people ever!)

This is going towards my Stash Dash 2014 numbers, which will boost it quite a bit. I’m also now knitting something with it (which means I can double whatever I use for the thing I’m knitting! Whoop!) the WIP with this yarn is quite awesome, so I’ll save that for another blog post.

And! Theres more!

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This is 254yds of a 2-ply from Three Waters Farm (colorway: Summer Rooftops). I brought this with me to work yesterday (around 10:00, and had it all spun and plied around 2:00! The perks of working/interning at a yarn store d^_^b more on that later!!) More Stash Dash yardage! This isn’t including the knit items that need to be blocked and photographed. And the other skein of handspun that I finished recently.

So many things to show you guys! Not enough time! Oh well. It’ll all show up eventually :-)

Also! Thanks for the feedback on the technical post, and what would be interesting to you guys! It gave me lots of great ideas, and I’m beginning to collect stuff and pictures for helpfulness and all that jazz d^_^b

Picking yarn for a sweater…

So, since I don’t believe its possible for me to only be working on one project at a time (I’ve tried. It doesn’t work, haha!) I’ll just continue to show you guys bits of what I’m working on!

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This doesn’t look like much right now, but hopefully it’ll soon become more obvious as to what it is, haha! It is going to be a Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig from the Knitbot blog.

I made one many many many moons ago. Very close to the beginning of my knitting career in Houston. My skills were not quite ready for that, haha. In other words, it turned out terribly and I’m not sure where it is. But! I learned a lot from it… mainly about how yarn choice is really important when it comes to the type of sweater you want. Gauge is important in that regard as well. I didn’t know that (or I probably thought I knew what I was doing… I really didn’t, haha!)

Now… probably around 6 or 7 years later (crazy, right? I’ve been knitting for 8 years.) I am giving it another go, with a lot more knowledge about drape, density, durability (all the Ds, haha!) and how its important to really know your yarn… To know how the fiber content will affect your garment. It can either make or break it!

This time around, I’m using Quince and Co.’s Chickadee in the colorways “Kumlien’s Gull” (the grey) and “Egret” (the cream). The pattern originally called for Quince and Co.’s Tern base, which is extremely similar to their Chickadee base. Tern is 50% Wool and 50% Silk, while the Chickadee base is 100% Wool. And yes, Tern is technically a fingering weight while Chickadee is listed as a sport/DK weight… nothing that a little change of needle size can’t fix!

Both would be amazing options for this sweater. But heres why I went with Chickadee, instead of Tern, the called for yarn…

1) I wanted a sweater that could definitely be a sweater that would last a long time, with lots of hard use. Because of the nature of Chickadee, without the silk, I can see it lasting a little longer than Tern. Both will hold their own for a long time, I’m sure. But for what I’m looking for, Chickadee was better.

2) True, its supposed to be kind of a drapey cardigan. But I’m planning on doing some different things, so it wouldn’t have been as drapey anyway. The shawl collar won’t be as flowy and it’ll be a bit longer. Maybe the sleeve length will be longer, I’m not sure yet. Who knows!

3) I’ve had more experience with Chickadee, and knew how it knitted up, how it blocks, how much does it stretch, if at all… all that jazz. I have a specific look I’m going for with this sweater, so I needed something I knew would work.

4) Annnd… they had more color options for Chickadee d^_^b The colors for Tern were beautiful, don’t get me wrong! But for the stripes I was wanting, there were better options with Chickadee.

When it comes to sweaters, I go through a pretty long process of figuring out the perfect yarn… and this is kind of what I do! If I’m going to make myself a sweater that I’m going to love and wear all the time and be super sad when it finally gives out… that yarn has to be the perfect yarn for that particular sweater! Its all part of the fun!

I was actually talking with my mom about this the other day… Process knitting vs Product knitting. We both agreed that we’re a little both… we love the process, we love the product. But we also love the part of getting to pick out the pattern and the yarn and gather the needles, pattern, project bag… all that stuff! Its part of the fun of knitting. Probably one of my favorite parts, I think! But I love all of it… so I don’t know if that counts ;-)

Hope you found this interesting! If you like posts like this, more technical stuff, let me know and I’ll come up with ideas. Or if theres something in particular you’d like me to write about in regards to knitting leave me a comment below or you can contact me via Twitter or Instagram or Ravelry!

Bolt and the summer

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So, I said that if I didn’t post after my finals were over, I had probably been eaten or something. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case! Two big-o trips happened very shortly after school ended, which did result in much knitting time… but not the best for taking pictures/editing/blogging, haha.

I am home now. And will be for awhile. I have summer plans, it’ll be a busy summer. But I am back ^_^

But to slip back into the flow of things, just like old times… Heres *one* of the things I’m working on right now d^_^b

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I’m doing a KAL with Marie from the Frogged Designs! We’re knitting the Bolt shawl by Veera Välimäki! We cast on on May 19th, and its been so much fun to knit! Its completely garter stitch, which makes it perfect for school knitting (in Marie’s case ;-P) or travel knitting or Bluegrass competition watching/cheering on friends who are competing (in my case :-P) (more on that later!) We don’t really have a time frame, so feel free to join in! #boltKAL

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The yarn I’m using is Brooklyn Tweed’s LOFT in Old World (the navy) and Woodsmoke (the cream/super light brown). The first wedge and first stripe was done while I was somewhat distracted by something (I can’t remember what, but it must have been important, haha!) and consequently, put the one stripe on the wrong side. Except I like the way that looks, actually, so I didn’t worry too much about going back and changing it, heehee. I’m not sure if I’ll the rest like that, but I’ll figure it out when I get there. Theres a chance I might make the same mistake again, and end up doing it on accident, haha!

This will also be put towards my Stash Dash 2014 count. Which I don’t have anything uploaded or photographed yet, but I’m getting there! I have a pile of things that need to be washed, ends woven in, buttons sewn on, a couple rows left to be knit… I’m super excited about getting things done and being able to use the items ^_^

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So yes, I’m back. I’m knitting. I’m blogging. I’m working. I’ll be taking some online classes (both for actual school and for fun ^_^). And I’m excited for everything that summer holds for me.

(ALSO! TOUR DE FLEECE IS COMING..!!)

Spirited Away became a Brickless

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I started something with my Spirited Away skein from Gynx Yarns, I got a couple weeks ago d^_^b

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I picked Brickless by Martina Behm . Its perfect (as are all her patterns!) for variegated yarn.

Ever since Brickless came out, I really wanted to make one. Didn’t know what yarn I wanted to use, and didn’t really have the time to devote to finding the perfect skein, haha! But after a little thought about what to make with my Gynx skein, it became obvious what it needed to be.

So, either this past Thursday or Friday, I cast it on. Took the plunge and jumped on the knitterly band-wagon. I can’t say no to that knitterly band-wagon. Its just gotta happen.

This was the knitting that I brought with me on the RUF (Reformed University Fellowship!) Fall Conference that happened over the weekend. Best mindless knitting ever! The colors were (and still are!) making it continually interesting, then the different textures in the pattern. It was not boring, but simple enough to work on during the four messages that were given while we were there.

Going to Fall Conference was kind of a last minute decision, but holy cow, I’m so glad I went! It was so amazing! Lots of friends, chatting, hanging around, listening to really amazing and encouraging messages, worship with several RUF groups from other Texas colleges, knitting (obviously d^_^b) and just wonderfulness. Oh, and an epic dance party combined with the A&M vs Ole’Miss game, which led to a (rather stressful, haha!) win for us Aggies, which then led celebrating in all the traditional Aggie ways.

It was epic. I’m so glad I went – I can’t wait for Summer Conference and next year’s Fall Conference ;-P

Hat-A-Long Hat #1: Snowdrift

Its October! What?! That means that Christmas knitting is well underway… or it *should* be, haha!

I haven’t started.

Which is kind of setting myself to frantically race against the clock (like always. I always seem to do that, haha!) to get something done before midnight of December 24th. That not working out, so I stay up till the wee hours of the morning of December 25th finishing and wrapping items. Then often times giving gifts still on the needles.

But its the thought that counts, right? Right!

What I’m hoping will help me is the Hat-A-Long KAL that Diane of the Knitabulls Podcast is doing (I know I’ve said this before, but her podcast is one of the bestest out there! Go watch it!!)

As of today, I’ve knit four hats. One of them is secret knitting, so I can’t show you guys just yet. But this is something to make knocking out Christmas knitting a little easier ;-P

Here’s hat #1! (these aren’t in any particular order, haha!)

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This is Snowdrift by Alex Tinsley ! I’ve had this pattern for about 2 years, but never got around to knitting it. Why, I don’t know… its one of the best patterns ever! And I’m about to tell you why…

1) It uses up stash yarn super easily. Bam, there goes that languishing 100yds you had lying around. Bye bye!

2) its knit on size 10.5 needles. And on a 16″ cable, it goes even more quickly.

3) the yarn is pretty adaptable… but using the bulky like it recommends. it’s just the best.

4) if you put reasons 2 and 3 together, you get some pretty speedy knitting! I knit this hat in about 3.5 hours. Yep, that’s it. Cast it on during a class, left it… worked on it the whole car ride back to Houston (which is about an hour and 45 minutes ish) then did the last two decrease rows later that night. BAM!

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If you’re looking for super quick knit… you need to knit this.

I used a little bit of my left over cake from my Long Sands cardigan. Its Cascade Eco Wool in the Gun Metal color.

More of my finished hats coming d^_^b