Friday, October 28, 2011

Photo Walking

I don't talk about it a whole lot but I consider myself an artist of sorts. I know there are those out there who think you are only truly an artist if you have "paid the rent" as it were with your art. I actually have. I went to school for Graphic Design and worked for a time as a Graphic Artist.

It was during that time in my life that I knew I always wanted Art to be a part of it. Time of course moves on and you don't always have that choice, life tends to get in the way. I still find myself yearning for something sometimes though, that artistic seed never goes away and unless you nourish it and allow it to grow, it becomes a little hole in your soul. That's my opinion at least.

Last weekend it was my brother's birthday and I traveled to my parents' house where we spent the weekend.

The birthday boy. We had a short lumberjack competition and here he is mid-swing. This one turned out REALLY well. I love it!

It's hard to squeeze anything into that time with nieces, nephews and cousins coming and going but while out in the woods on the 4-wheeler, it struck me how beautiful the sunlight looked streaming through the trees. I had to capture a small portion of that and bring it home, something to keep my spirits alive during the winter and so, the next afternoon as the sun was setting, I took a walk in the woods with my camera. Here are some of the pictures I took.

I love the pink berries in the foreground of this one.

Although there are trails in the woods, I tried to capture just the natural parts of it.

Fallen trees, that were fallen naturally, and little touches that make you feel almost like you're completely alone out there.

This is my favorite of the ones I took and the first one, as a matter of fact. I love the sunshine streaming in, it almost makes me feel it on my skin.

Then of course, I had to have a picture of the fire, as the sun set and we all settled in for the evening.

You should note that I don't have a fancy pants camera. Just a little Canon but I set it to landscape for the woods photos and quick shutter for the fire and my brother and I love the way these photos turned out.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I May Be Addicted

Almost everyone that knows me knows that I belong to Gritty Knits Merino of the Month club. I talk about it all the time. Often because I'm spinning the lovely fiber I've received of course. Let's ignore that for a moment though and talk instead about the NOM club.
NOM is sock yard. It's not just any sock yarn though. It's amazingly wonderful sock yarn. The fiber content is 80% Merino 10% Nylon and 10% Cashmere. As if that weren't enough, the yarn itself feels amazing. So soft and smooth and lovely! Well, a few months ago our lovely Gritty Knits purveyor started up a NOM club as well. I couldn't resist at least trying it 0ut and I'm so glad I did! Every month you get a skein of NOM in that month's colorway. I have loved every one. Some of them I've had to think about what they'd like to become and (very rarely) do I think that it just isn't my colors. I love almost all colors and that really helps of course, but honestly I think the color sense in my fiber and yarn shipments are just amazing. I just can't say enough good things! You want to see what I'm talking about?


Is October's NOM. It's called Autumn and it is! It's all the lovely shades you think of in Autumn without being garish or overdone. It's not the first colors I would have chosen but I think it's lovely and subtle anyway. I am thinking a lovely shawlette would be so nice in these colors. As soon as I finish some of the MANY other projects haunting me right now of course.

What I really want to mention though is this month's Merino. It is amazing. I was so excited to pull it out of the package.

I can't explain it. It's deep rich black and navy blue with hints of soft aqua and occasional bits of white thrown in. I was in love from first glance! It arrived (with my NOM, they get shipped together, saving on postage) last Thursday and my love of it sort of explains why it doesn't look like that anymore.

It doesn't look like this either really, it looks like this:

A really terrible picture of finished yarn.

This one's a little better only because you can see the yarn better. The flash washed out the colors entirely but it's 296 yards of soft, sproingy heavy fingering weight to sportweight and I'm so excited to knit with it that I cannot believe it still isn't dry! I'm fighting the urge to wind it into a ball damp and just start. Yes, I know there are tons of other WIPs glaring at me but...I seem to be helpless to resist the charms of this amazing fiber turned yarn. I just love it. I want it to be my own. Good thing it is huh?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Really, Truly Done

Do you ever finish knitting something and while you know you would love if it were completely finished, for some reason, you don't finish it?

I have a tendency to do this a lot. I joined a SAL/KAL for a lovely Cowl from the Zarzuela group. I knew it would be wonderful to have it truly finished but it took me months and months to finally do the simple little task of sewing the buttons on I finally did that today.

Isn't it lovely. It started out as a simple braid of fiber, then I spun it into a lovely two-ply yarn. I love the way the colors blend in this process. I knitted it into a lovely cowl and now, finally, here it is. Finished, done, complete. Buttons and all. I actually might add another button, making it three total to keep the flaps from well, flapping. I'm wearing it now and it makes me feel lovely and cozy and warm.

I didn't have much time to procrastinate on the other project I've finished.

Isn't it sweet? I knitted this lovely baby sweater over the last couple of weeks for some friends from church who were due to have their baby. If it weren't for the fact that I set it aside for a bit I would have finished it right after starting. I knitted it with yarn I think is extra for the sweater project I'm planning (Cascade 220 in Pacific Heathers) I think the color is quite lovely and would have worked for a little boy as well but they had a lovely little girl. I whipped up the sleeves on Thursday and blocked it Friday so I could give it to them on the day of her baptism, that was yesterday. I sewed the buttons on yesterday morning. It was cutting it a bit close but it will be quite awhile until she fits into this lovely little sweater. It came out to the size the two-year old I babysit wears. As a matter of fact I had her try it on and she didn't want to give it back!

Whew! Two projects finished. Now I'm off to work on some store samples for Crafts Direct. I get to try out the ruffling yarn. It's all very exciting!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spinning Frantically

Lately I haven't been doing a ton of knitting. Well, I should amend that. I've been knitting a lot (and crocheting really) but not finishing anything. It's very difficult to have anything interesting to talk about when you don't have finished objects.

I did manage to finish my Travelling socks though.

They are VERY fraternal but I love them anyway. I knit on them over about a year whenever I was in the car (as a passenger) and whenever I was out somewhere that wasn't home. I didn't work on them with any sort of speed because I love that they travel with me and get knit in all kinds of interesting places. They were knit in Duluth while camping and at the Air show last year, again in Duluth for our Knitting class with Three Irish Girls and in Wisconsin. Then this year they spent a good deal of time in the armrest of my hubby's car and finally made another trip to Wisconsin where they were finished. Lots of memories and beautiful socks at the end too! Really they should have their own post, of all the amazing places they've been but I really want to talk spinning today.

I've been doing a bunch of spinning lately and almost none of it has been posted about.
This is the lovely Spin-Along with the Zarzuela group. It started like this:

(This picture is awful because it was taken with flash at night) You can see though that it's 3 braids of 2 ounces each. Two are semi-solid and one is made to stripe. You chose your colors and your fiber, mine is BFL, and the lovey Zarzuela dyed it for you. I have a purpley-pink with a lovely grey. I spun and spun and spun. (This took a good long time!) Then I plied it up and ended up with this:

A lovely 3-ply yarn, the color is much more accurate in this picture. The goal was to spin each braid onto one bobbin each and then ply the three together. That's what I did. I really love the look of the finished yarn but I'm a little disappointed in my spinning. I only got about 366 yards out of 6 ounces! I can usually get much more yardage but I love it anyway.

After that, I needed to get my Plurk Swap fiber spun for my swap buddy.
If your name is Sairy, look away!

Last Chance.....

I chose a lovely (BFL again) fiber in Wisconsin and set about spinning it. I ended up with this:

A beautiful laceweight yarn. It's a two-ply and I got about 600 yards. Now I need to find a pattern and get knitting it! I'm so excited about it and this yarn is so pretty I'm so tempted to keep it for myself.

Finally, I took advantage of CJKopec's Free Shipping sale and made a couple of purchases. One of them was this beautiful Superwash BFL. It was a little different than I was expecting when I got it and I just wasn't sure how it would spin up.

I know fiber can look way different after spinning though so I took a chance and set to work.
I made a two-ply because I thought the yarn would look lovely with the colors all blended together.

It came out lovely! It's somewhere between a sport and a worsted weight at 280-something yards. I'm not sure what it wants to be yet but I think it's gorgeous!

I did start on my Christmas knitting but I haven't gotten very far. Good thing I decided not to do a whole lot of Christmas knitting this year!

Here are some socks for my Dad, knit two-at-a-time with some lovely Regia Kaffee Fassett Design Line. They are going to be fraternal though because they started at a different place in the yarn which I didn't realize at first. Oh well, he should enjoy them anyway!