Out with the old, in with the new…

So, my last post was on October 20th? Which I feel like doesn’t even count because it was a Musical Monday. After.. another Musical Monday.

Crazy things have happened.. My first semester of junior year began and ended; passed all my classes, even French, despite my worries; everything that has happened with my younger brother, Joey. These past couple weeks have been a whirlwind, haha. So many good things happened this past semester as well.. too many to list, haha.

Christmas is over! 2015 is here! Did I get all my Christmas knitting done in time? No. Did I get any of my Christmas knitting done in time? No. Thats okay, haha. The events of the past couple of weeks have caused knitting to fall lower on the priority list, and thats fine. There were more important things to be done!

In the mean time, while I get back on track with FO posts and such, here are a couple pictures, in no particular order, that I took during the semester with full intention of blogging about them, but never got around to it. Silly school! ;-)

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It was a full year. It was a full semester. Its a full life! I have no clue what 2015 holds for me, but I know that its going to be good. Christmas of 2014 held some of the worst moments of my life.. but also some of the absolute best. I also received the best Christmas gift I’ve ever gotten. We had a Christmas miracle this year… God showered not only His mercy and blessings on us, but also His peace and strength.

I hope everyone had a marvelous Christmas and end of 2014, I know I did.

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!!)

Yarntopia: The Adventure of a Summer

So, I had an internship this summer! I was blessed by the opportunity to be able to do it at my LYS (local yarn store), Yarntopia! My major (international studies) requires an internship (and a study abroad, whoop!) at some point. So, by working at Yarntopia, I was able to fufill that requirement *and* get 3 hours of credit for it. (Which brings my summer total up to a whopping 9 credit hours. #summerschool)

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You might know that I’ve worked at Yarntopia before, but it was a bit more casual. I was teaching a bit, and would work a day here or there whenever I was needed. But I didn’t come in on a regular basis, I wasn’t around all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes in a yarn store. But this summer… I got to experience everything. Or, close to everything, haha.

My boss, and the owner of Yarntopia, Sheryl, is one of the sweetest and kindest women I know. She enabled me to gain a larger understanding as to what really goes on in a yarn store – the ups and the downs. To me, this was the experience of a lifetime. This is what I ultimately want to do (but who knows what God will bring my way in the future) and to be able to kind of experience everything before finding things out on my own, was amazing.

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Throughout the weeks that I was there, I was able to meet so many amazing people and get to know the ones I already knew even better. It was so much fun to see some of the ladies walk in through out the summer and have a growing friendship with them! Whether I was helping to fix a knitting mistake, teach a class, find the perfect yarn for a project, or just knitting and laughing with them, I was always having a blast. Which makes the whole experience even cooler – in addition to earning college credit, learning about the business, being surrounded by yarn, I was having a blast. I had so much fun just listening to everyone laugh and enjoy themselves while I piddled around or sitting and knitting. I had so much fun with everyone! But especially Sheryl, we got to spend a lot of time together just being in the store.

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I had so much fun and I learned so much. Yarntopia definitely made my summer amazing and I’m going to miss it and the wonderful Yarntopia community.

Expanding those fiber crafting abilities!

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I learned something new! And I’m kind of really excited about it…

Tunisian Crochet. You may ask “How… in the world is that different than regular crochet??” Or others might ask “Um.. how is crocheting different than knitting?”… but thats a totally different subject ;-) The Wikipedia article about Tunisian crochet is quite good, if you want a precise description of how crochet and Tunisian crochet are different.

Now, you’re probably asking… “Why… did you want to learn this? You don’t like to crochet. Why this? How is it different again?” Or, you might still be asking “Wait, so knitting is with two sticks, while crocheting is just one? Which one has the hook?”

To which, I would reply with that it was a very spontaneous decision and despite the fact that it is crocheting, I’m really enjoying it! Or, if it was the second question, I’d probably laugh and use my purse knitting as a visual aid d^_^b

Though this has opened up many possibilities of scarves and stuff like that with the simple stitch and with handspun, or crazy variegated yarn!

But my main inspiration was a sample that we had (and still have!) in Yarntopia, my LYS. Its a Tunisian Crochet Entrelac baby blanket. Absolutely gorgeous (and as I write this, I realize that I don’t have a picture of it, haha. You’ll see mine soon!)

While doing my work, piddling around the store for a couple of days… I decided I wanted to make it, but with chunkier yarn and make it bigger so it’d more of an adult blanket!

Sheryl, my amazing boss and owner of Yarntopia, showed me the basics of Tunisian, got me going on a little square, I mastered that, and then had to wait for my yarn to come in. I decided to stick with the same yarn the baby blanket was made with, but went with the chunky version… tada, Marble Chunky! Its quite a beautiful yarn… also machine washable! Even better!

It finally arrived, and Kathleen, a extremely sweet and delightful co-worker and friend, got me started on the actual blanket… and it reminded me of learning how to do certain knitting techniques. Using double pointed needles and reading patterns in particular, haha. The pattern, the jargon, the terms… they went right over my head, haha. I couldn’t read the pattern, let alone see the term and know how to actually do it. Thats where Kathleen came in, and she steered me in the right direction!

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I’ve been working on it a little bit every day, making lots of progress! The movement of doing the stitches is becoming more natural to me, its not taking as long to do one square! I now have around four and a half rows of the entrelac squares. I highly doubt I’ll have it done before school starts, but I think it’ll be my “Time to veg.. but not knitting…” project.

I can’t wait to be able to snuggle under it!

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..!!)

FO!!: Lady Marple

Dear everyone, I have a finished object!

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This is the Lady Marple Cardigan by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne.

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I used Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter in the Snowbound colorway.

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No super big mods, just added an extra inch on the sleeves. Which happened totally on accident, haha! We went to see the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, to which I brought my sweater to work on. Starting with only an inch after the shoulder short rows (3″), I came out with an inch past what my goal was (18″). It was quite a triumphant moment, haha. Then next day I busted out the second sleeve in an evening… and a lot of football and Parks and Rec, haha.

I’m really happy with this accidental mod, haha. I love the fact that I can pull the sleeves down over my hands (which proved to be really handy while taking these pictures, because it was freeeeezing. But not really. For Houston/Texas, it was really cold outside.

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^ Gig’em d^_^b

Anyway, this sweater has been in my queue for forever… and I’m so happy I finally got around to making it ^_^

(*SIDENOTE*: I got cowboy boots for Christmas! Never had a pair before. I’m super duper excited! Every time I put them on, I really want to go dancing. Two-stepping, yo!)

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Started it on Christmas Day, while enjoying the wonderful family time. Then finished it on January 6th. Bam! The wonders of quick-knit sweaters on size US9 needles.

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It was such a fun and mindless pattern to knit. If you’re looking for a classic sweater, thats also easy an quick… This is perfect! Plus, its also cozy and will keep you warm, if needed. I think it’ll become my go-to cardigan ^_^

Shameless Enabling

You know you love it, haha. I know I do… though I know I should resist the urge and stay strong. No more new fiber or yarn till I use up some of my stash. Whenever I hear “Now I have some enabling” on a podcast or read it somewhere, I immediately perk up and am on the lookout for new goodies.

Saying to live by: You can never have too much yarn or fiber or crafty goodness.

That being said – read at your own risk. These online shops I’m about to inform you about have many EXTREMELY gorgeous things. Resisting them is definitely a challenge. With that, I wish you good luck!

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This was some of my loot from Christmas! My family knows me too well, haha.

On the left, we have “Tealberry” from Cloudlover. (Which when I found the link, I saw two other colors that are so gorgeous. Sugar Plum and North by Northwest really caught my eye). As of right now, I don’t have any set plans for this. When I start spinning, I’ll see what it wants to be and just go with it! I’ve never spun anything from Cloudlover, but I’ve only heard amazing things about it. I can’t wait! Its superwash BFL, and it looks like she has some Tealberry left! Definitely go check it out!

In the middle, is one Three Waters Farm. No surprise there, right? I’m quite addicted to their fiber. The colors… I want them all, haha! They are a bit more pricey, but still a really amazing deal for the quality you’re getting! Haha, every time I look at the shop page, the fiber nut in me goes a little crazy. So many possibilities! The two colors that I got are Summer Rooftops (which is a BFL wool roving) and Gold Tonal (which is Polwarth and silk).

As of right now, I don’t have any plans for Summer Rooftops, but the Gold Tonal, I have an idea. I’d like to try spinning just a single (which I haven’t done before) and then possibly making something like CatReading’s Curtain Cowl. I still need to do some research on spinning a single. I’ve heard theres a semi-complicated bath process to help calm down and re-energize the fibers. But I look forward to the challenge ^_^

Then on the right, is Daybreak Dyeworks! I love Dawn, she’s so incredibly sweet and her products are just amazing. Its been fun to see her business grow! The color I got is called Desert Sky and its superwash merino. I actually started spinning this last night, and its turning up beautifully! Its going to be a fractal 2-ply, and so I’m really interested to see how the fractal ends up! I’m hoping for maybe a worsted, but we’ll see d^_^b There are so many fun colors in her shop right now! “Baby, its cold outside”, “Lollipop”, and “Hipster” look super fun! Definitely check out her shop!

Heehee, so thats my shameless enabling for now. But I have a little bit more enabling for later ;-P But you should go check out these online shops, they have so much awesomeness to offer!

Also, I wrote this post with the help of the Frozen soundtrack (Does anyone want to build a snowman??) and a warm cat laying on top of me. I love not having any school to worry about ^_^