Art & Craft

Not About the Eclipse

I know, today is all about the eclipse, and here I am, inside blogging for the first time in two months.  That’s what happens when you don’t get your NASA approved solar eclipse glasses – forced to finally blog.  I’m just going to have to watch some shade from my window.

Ah, now there’s some sun for you.  Last week we visited with Joe’s parents in Sea Isle City, New Jersey.  Doesn’t get much better than that!  Oh, unless you’re doing some arting on that lovely beach as well:

If you’re ever looking for an easy peasy travel project, pick up this book:

Remember those Ed Emberly books when we were kids? Well, when I was a kid – How to Draw Animals, Monsters, etc., that broke the creature down into shapes – draw a rectangle body, draw a rectangle shape, draw a triangle ear, etc., and then at the end you had a dog, a cat, or a whatever.  This book is the Ed Emberly book of flowers for the drawing impaired.  Every flower is broken down into steps, the steps are basically shapes, until the last step, when you do little hashmarks for shading.  If I can do it, you can do it.

Here’s me doing a daisy and a couple of tulips:

And, here’s a paper garden –

It actually makes me look like I know what I’m doing! In any event, the directions are easy to follow, and the materials are extremely portable – just a pencil, a micron pen and a sketchbook.  No fuss.

Now, for something that doesn’t look like I know what I’m doing – watercolors.  These are supposed to be peonies, garden roses, and anemones.

Remember the Show Me Your Drills challenge from the Happily Ever Crafter? Maybe not, because my blogging is so inconsistent, I may have forgotten to mention it altogether. The drills challenge was a calligraphy practice workshop – every day you either practiced your upstroke, or your downstroke, or connecting letters, or something of the sort.  Anyway, Happily Ever Crafter joined forces with water color artist, Stephanie Fehrenbach for a new challenge, Show Me Your Florals.  Everyday a watercolor lesson appeared in my inbox, and I kind of went, eh.  Every watercolor class starts the same way – how to mix colors, how to control the water on your brush, and paper etc.  I’d already done much of the exercises through Skillshare.  The week wrapped up with florals, finally.  I did end up buying the workbook at the end – which was what it was all leading up to anyway.  On the first day, the workbook was $12 – which was a nice deal, since all of the flowers that are illustrated in the book are also demoed on video.  I don’t know if I’d pay $24 for it though, since so much of it is on Skillshare and Creativebug.  But, for the price of two Starbucks frozen coffees, I was good with it.  Although, as you can see, my efforts weren’t so hot – I have to admit, I didn’t try very hard, nor did I practice very much.  We were packing up for vacation, and my craftroom was like 100F – so hooooottt!  Anyway, even though my flowers are meh, I’m not one to waste good watercolor paper, and I turned them into cards –

A good splash of watercolor is always a good background for a card, and they’re supposed to be abstract.

This one was a big sloppy wreath that I ended up cutting down to fit on a card base.  I did cut away some of the good bits, but i think it looks pretty ok The stamps are from Unity.  Not part of the monthly kit, but part of one of their sales.  There’s always a sale.  Luckily I get the monthly kit, or I’d be in big trouble.

By the way, I’ll revisit the kit next post, but I have to say, I have not bought one extra stamp (except for these creativity sentiments from Unity, that I bought because they work so well with anything) since subscribing three months ago.  Does that mean that I’m spending a little extra to save more in the long run?

Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway.

Crafting On – Starting Point at the End Point

Image may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor and nature

Ah, this time last week we were just arriving in sunny California for the E3 conference. Myself, I’m not a big gamer. I dabbled in a little World of Warcraft, but I got bored with that, and I’m just not coordinated enough to play shoot em up games. But, for my husband and stepson, going to E3, the video game industry’s yearly conference at which they unveil all of the new games and gaming gear for the upcoming year, was like winning the Golden Ticket to Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. it was like three straight days of Christmas.

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We did do the touristy things of course, like going to the Griffith Park Observatory, and hitting the beach and the pier at Santa Monica.

Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, water and nature

Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, water and nature

I was sorely disappointed when we went to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and I actually got to visit the Dolby Theatre, home of the Oscars.  It’s just a strip mall!  All of the glamour, gone.  Oh well.  Unfortunately, the last few days of the trip were hampered by Joe catching some kind of a horrible cold (I had something before we left, but I find it hard to believe that he would have developed it over a week later), so we didn’t get to go on our Hollywood Homes tour, as recommended by the Ellen DeGeneres show, darn!  And, we didn’t go to Venice Beach.  Maybe we’ll be back, maybe not.  I feel like we packed in a lot before Joe went down.  Gamer down!

Anyway, needless to say after listening to him hack up a lung for two days, I was ready to be home, and as soon as I got home, I got to work finishing up the last clue of the Joji MKAL, Starting Point.

Brilliant finish – no grafting!

 

I guess the question to ask at the end any MKAL is, would I have knit this if it weren’t an MKAL, if it had just been released as a stand alone pattern?

In this case, it’s difficult to say.  I used all stash yarn – I don’t know if I would have gone stash diving had I knit this with true intention.  And, I don’t know if I would have wanted to make the big investment in yarn that this gigantic thing calls for.  So, I’m really happy with the end result, I’m pleased with my stash busting, but I’m not sure if I would have looked at this and said, yep, I want to spend $150 to make this.  I don’t know.  But, I’m certainly not sad it’s now in my wardrobe.

After that big knit, I found myself ready for some crochet.  I didn’t know it at the time, but when I was wandering through Michael’s while Joe got his hair cut (I’ve convinced him that the Hair Cuttery next to Michael’s is so much better than the one next to Whole Foods), these Caron Cakes were on sale, 30% off – and my curiosity got the best of me.  I don’t knit with acrylic, so the project was going to be crochet, and I thought, yep, that is actually what I’m in the mood for – crochet it is!  Caron Cakes is actually 20% wool, and that bit of wool really makes a difference.  If you put this yarn in a bag with pure wool, and I were blindfolded, I’d probably have a tough time identifying the fakery.  Unlike a pure acrylic, this doesn’t feel stiff, nor does it squeak like the Caron pound skeins.  Because of the color changes, I really wanted to do something that just went round and round, so here is the beginnings of my shell blanket:

Easy peasy.  Round and round.  Of course, while I’m doing this easy peasy thing, I have my eye on something harder, the Nuts for Squares CAL, but I’ve promised myself I’m going to finish this first, or at least finish off the four skeins that I bought of the Caron Cakes, before I invest in another project – gotta keep that wandering eye looking firmly straight ahead.  It’s so easy to get distracted, and you have too much Ravelry time on your hands.

So, that’s what I’m crafting on about, hope your summer crafting is moving right along was well.  Linking up with Linking up with Frontier Dreams, Crafting On!

Not Yarning Along, Crafting On!

Hello Wednesday!  Is it really you!  Good to see you, my time suck of a calendar day.  Before the day goes poof, here’s a run down of the knit/crochet happenings since February –

The Ambah MKAL

As you may recall, my knit started out looking like this:

But I hated the cartoony speckle, and ripped it out – then it looked like this:

I was kind of meh about it, but I did finish it.  It looks like this:

 

I guess it turned out ok – I haven’t even blocked it, or weaved the ends in.  I guess I’m still meh about it.

Buzz the House Fly

So, to cheer myself up about my meh-ness, I decided to crochet a Lalylala critter – looking through my stash, I didn’t have the best combo of solid finger colors, so I went with some purple Koigu and Buzz, the House Fly:

 


I think he turned out super cute!  Emboldened with my amigurumi prowess, I decided to finally try an Octopus for a Preemie.

Octopus Fail

I joined this Facebook group probably the week it started, as I had seen an article about the program, and thought, well, since I like crocheting critters, and my husband doesn’t appreciate them, and my nieces and nephews are really getting to old for stuffed animals, this seems like a good idea.

I waited to crochet a little guy, though, because the group was just getting organized, and in the beginning, there was a lot of confusion, and a lot of failed Octopi.  Then, the group came up with a system of becoming a certified crafter – in order to ensure that the Octopi complied with the strict guidelines, you had to upload photos of your Octopus passing certain tests to show that the the tentacles weren’t too short/too long and that your stitching was tight enough.  So, after finishing my bug, I decided to give it a go –

On the face of it, it looks like the little guy passed.  But, alas, after it went to an Octopus Ambassador, who again threw it in her washer/dryer, the holes opened up, and the tentacles stretched out, and the head got smooshy.  I didn’t even bother to mail in my second one – I just gave it to my dog.  Later, it was revealed that others had problems with this yarn – I think it’s Caron, and while still approved, since it is cotton and it doesn’t bleed, it was kind of use with caution.

So, I pondered whether I wanted to go back to the drawing board, maybe with a different yarn, and the answer was no.  I broke every nail on my fingers, crocheting so tightly, and with the required yarn under method of crocheting – and my nails were not long to begin with – so they were broken down to below the tips of my fingers.  And, I had also managed to stab myself under the nail with the hook a couple of times, and I was literally sore for a week after finishing one.  So, while this is a good cause, there are over 13,000 people in the group, and they are much better crocheters than I.  And, I had already washed and dried the little guy above, and my machinery just doesn’t have the juice that the official tester had – or I would have already seen the problems, and never mailed it in in the first place.  I tried, I failed, I’m not going to beat myself up.

Which brings me to my current knit, the Joji Mystery Wrap

 

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When I first saw this MKAL, I wasn’t even on the fence, it was just a big no! I had no desire to knit a gigantic rectangle. It seemed like way too much boring knitting. But, then I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool (more on that another day), and it was kitted up everywhere – every booth had some kind of Joji MKAL kit, and I was mesmerized. But, I didn’t buy yarn – five skeins of fingering yarn is a big investment – the Miss Babs kits were $132, the Bare Naked Fibers was even more. Of course, it’s fantastic yarn, and for a project that wasn’t a mystery, reasonable. But, for a mystery … especially after the meh Ambah MKAL . . . So, I pulled random fingering Shetland out of my stash, and said, not perfect, but good to go.

It’s a really easy knit; it’s mostly garter, and fantastic t.v. knitting.  I’m relieved that it’s not developing like your typical rectangle.  And at this point, there are no live stitches on a holder, so that says to me no grafting – hopefully these two pieces will come together some other way, because I hate grafting.  We shall see.  Two more clues to go!

And there we have it, all of the yarning since February – I think.  I feel like I’m missing something – oh yeah, my Kate Davies’ sweater.  That’s on the back burner, maybe never to return – it was turning out pretty small, and I have to totally reknit a sleeve that turned out wonky.

 

 

Oh my!  I just went to link up with the Yarn Along and discovered it ended in March!  All of that Waiting for Wednesday and there wasn’t any Wednesday left!!!!

So Godot, really . . .

Go figure!

Linking up with the suggested alternative to the Yarn Along, Nicole at Frontier Dreams – Keep Calm and Craft on my friends!

The Quest for the Perfect Monthly Crafty Subscription

My my my its been a long time – February!  Here’s my tale of “woe.”  I like to link up to the Yarn Along on Wednesday.  And, for whatever reason, I kept missing Wednesday!  I would be in the mood to post on a Monday or a Tuesday, but think, eh, that post would be so much better to link up  with the Yarn Along on Wednesday – there was the finished Ambah knit-a-long, a crocheted bug, my crocheted Octopus disaster, Maryland Sheep and Wool, the start of the Joji MKAl, sheesh – that’s a lot of potential Wednesday content!  But then, somehow, Wednesday would disappear, poof! First it was 7:30 a.m. and I was getting ready for court, and then it was 10 p.m., and I was ready for bed.  And then, I’d think, there’s always next Wednesday.

And that’s it.  I’ve just been waiting for Wednesday.

So, here we are on Tuesday – whatever Wednesday, right?  Actually, I am going to try to post some yarny content tomorrow, and Wednesday looks pretty open on my calendar tomorrow – fingers crossed.  There were a lot of homicides over the holiday weekend, and I think I’m next up on the wheel.  One arrest, and I’m off to prison tomorrow, and that’ll blow up another Wednesday.  In the meantime, today I’m having a liquidy lunch scheduled with my team from this case, happy to close the book on that one.  Usually, when you close out a case like that one, there’s something waiting in the wings to take its place, sigh.

But, back to Tuesday, and today’s topic is my latest crafty pursuit, card making.  So, to recap, I started the year off with a handlettering flourish and frenzy.  That lead to InCoWriMo, and some watercolor cards.  The watercolor cards lead to me taking a class on watercolor card making at Online Card Classes,  This lead me to youtube, of course, and a lot of card making videos.  I became especially intrigued with cardmaking subscription kits, which is big fodder for youtube tuts – 10 cards, 1 kit, which appeals to me because I like to stretch my supplies, and use what I have on hand.  That’s not to say I don’t buy supplies – there is that giant A.C. Moore that plopped down right at the halfway point between my walk from the office to the courthouse.  Luckily, or unluckily, the supplies at A.C. Moore for the cardmaker are kind of meh – the stamp section is tiny, and tends to involve cute animals or florals, and they don’t carry any Tim Holtz, or any dies other the a handful of Sissix dies.  Therefore, I set my sights on subscribing to a monthly kit – curated supplies right to my door.

So, all kinds of things to think about – aesthetics, of course, but then there’s cost and commitment.  In the end, I did not go with the best buy, but with the product I thought I would use the most, and get the most joy out of, because that’s what it’s all about really.

The best buy out there is definitely, Hero Arts Monthly Kit.  For $35 plus shipping, you get at least a large stamp set (not quite 8 1/2 x 11, but it’s also bigger than 5 x7), with matching dies (between the stamps and the dies, you’ve already got your $35 worth), cardstock, and other miscellaneous items, this month it was a stencil, 3 small stamp pads, an acetate sheet, a bottle of ink, and some sequins.  I did not buy this month’s kit, I was sucked in by last months kit, which was Audrey Hepburn inspired:

This kit came with the paper doll stamps, matching dies, cardstock, three stamp cubes, a strand of faux pearls, a black ribbon, some blingy things, and some kind of droplets, I forget what they’re called.  And, here is the one card I ended up making, because there’s just not enough time in the day.  Crazy, because I saw this kit, didn’t love it, and then got sucked into the youtube 10 cards 1 kit scene, and had to have it.  Of course, by then it was sold out (the benefit of subscribing is that you’re guaranteed a kit – otherwise, you really need to buy it on the first day, possibly the second).  I stalked ebay – way too expensive and destash groups on Facebook.  Someone destashed it for $10, and I couldn’t believe I missed it!  And then, on the last day of the month, Hero Arts actually restocked it -they must have found a few lying around in the warehouse. I snatched it up, and rewatched all of the videos.  And then it came, and I was in the middle of something, work something, and I just didn’t get the chance to spend time with it.

Another really good deal is Simon Says Stamps, which is $25/month plus shipping. This month’s kit came with a floral stamps set, an ink pad, a distress oxide ink pad, and a small sample of Daniel Smith watercolors, as well as 6 x 6 double sided paper.  Eh, another floral stamp.  This kit sold out fast, and again, if you want a guarantee, you need to subscribe.  Looking back at the past kits, they’re just not my vibe, I guess.  Last month’s was this strange kinetic stamp, they appear to shimmy when you pull a tab, the month before were baby zoo critters.  Great deal, not for me.

And when I thought about Hero Arts v. Simon Says Stamps, it didn’t come down to money or value, it came down to taste.  If I didn’t like the theme, I probably wouldn’t get much use out of the kit.  I looked at past months of both companies, and it was really hit or miss.  This month’s Hero Arts has a mermaid theme,  I’m just not into the fantasy mermaid thing, I probably would make one card and that would be it.  And the truth is, I like the stamping and the coloring more than I like the embellishments, and the blingy stuff, so I changed my focus to stamps, and stamps that work well with watercolor, in particular.  To me, these cards are little canvases that I’m sending off into the world, and I wanted something to help me make my little presents.

Anyway, if you go on youtube, and search for monthly card kit, other companies will come up.  Hero Arts and Simon Says Stamps are just two of the more commercial, popular ones, and I really didn’t work too hard in researching the other brands, because they didn’t really stand out to me.

So, I ended up subscribing to Unity Stamp Co.’s Kit of the Month.  This kit doesn’t come with any paper, or dies, or bling, only stamps – an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of etched, unmounted, rubber stamps.  With shipping, it comes to $42 a month.  So, why the big investment, when I could spend less, and get more stuff?  Because it would be more stuff that I didn’t use.  I like these stamps – I can see sending them to friends, unlike a mermaid, or a fairy or a baby elephant.

As you can see, there are 6 large image stamps, and eight sentiments.  To give you an idea of size, the cards are 5 x7, and the vase and flower image is stamped on a 4 x 6 card.  One 4 x6 unmounted stamp alone will run you between $6-$10.00.  So, for the image stamps alone, it’s worth it.  Unity is known, I guess, for their Angie Girls, designed by Angie Blom.  The headband girl is an Angie girl.  One Angie Girl stamp set, which is usually a girl, and two sentiments, is $26.00.  So, again, while there is no paper, no bling, no dies, this 8 1/2 x 11 massive stamp set is a really good price for what you get.

I stumbled onto Unity years ago when I was taking Suzi Blu’s art journaling workshops, and she was selling her stamps there.  At some point, their emails started hitting my spam folder, and I really didn’t give them another thought.  Then, I started seeing cards on Facebook, as I was perusing different stamping groups.  I really liked the sentiments – they’re adult, they’re things I would say to a friend.  Even their critter cards are in a way sophisticated.  Unity also has a faith based side to it, which, when I first got their emails, was a bit of a turn off.  But, the faith based aspect is really separate – they have a separate kit club, Layers of Life, which is for more faith based, journaling.  So, I like that they are a family company, and that they not only want to put out a good product, they really want to be home to a community, and to that end, they are constantly doing Facebook live crafting sessions, and there’s almost always a sale.  I guess I found their Facebook group in January maybe February, and ever since then, there’s been a decent sale nearly every week, and during that period, I bought a few things that I loved working with, like this poppy girl:

The sentiment is from their Donna Downey collection – another nice plus to the site.  And, unlike Hero Arts and Simon Says Stamps there are additional benefits to membership than just a guaranteed kit.  Once you subscribe, you get an additional $6.50 off future orders of a certain amount, and all previous Kits of the Months are available at basically half price.  So, you can pick up an old set for $26 (Kits of the Month are $52 for nonmembers), which is basically the cost of the Angie girl in the set.  The commitment is three months, which I’m good with – because I’m finally at the end of my 12 month commitment with Studio Calico.  That, my friends, was way too long of a commitment to my project life ish kit of the month from them.  Especially when I’m really over the weekly project scrapping, and have turned to another product – more on that some other day but Wednesday.

So, with the cancelling of my World of Warcraft membership (uch, that time in between expansions – the dead zone) and my Studio Calico subscription, I’m still on budget for my one subscription a month.  I know this is probably rationalizing, but I really feel like I’m going to save money in the long run, because I won’t buy any additional stamps (and so far I haven’t, and it’s been a few weeks, and I’m still good), and while I have been collecting Spectrum Noir markers (alcohol markers that are nearly have the price of Copics) at the A.C. Moore about once a month for half the price (6 markers for $7.50,), I’m really good with the distress inks of I’ve had forever, and my watercolors.  I know, I know, everyone’s all about the distress oxide inks, and they are appealing, I’m ok without them.  I’m sure I’ll end up at Michael’s with a coupon sometime, but I’m not plotting for that day.

 

 

So, I’m sure I’ll be playing with this stamp set some more this week – watercoloring is so relaxing.  And, I have my June set to look forward to in a matter of a week or so, so we’ll see how this membership works out.  The other one’s are going anywhere.

So, tomorrow’s Wednesday – we’ll see if it stays firmly embedded on my calendar, or if it just goes poof! where did it go??

Til then!

 

Flowers, and Leaves and Wreaths, Oh My!

When you get sucked into the handlettering community, you naturally get pulled towards what’s cool and popular in graphic design.  Watercolor, wreaths, banners – it’s all big, and it’s all on Skillshare.  As I mentioned before, at 99 cents for three months, you can’t go wrong, and I’ve particularly enjoyed the following group of classes from The Pigeon Letters.

First, I tried my hand at Botanical Line Drawing, in which she goes over 29 or so (I can’t remember how many) Flowers Anyone Can Draw.  And, believe me, if I can draw them, you can draw them:

and leaves:

and wreaths:

All of these doodles are so easy. I just sat with my sketchbook while she drew, and I doodled along with her. Easy peasy. And stuff like this is great for decorating envelopes, embellishing hand lettered quotes, and of course, dressing up a bullet journal.  And, it turned out to be really nifty that I photographed my pages, because now I always have them on the phone for reference, so if I’m decorating an envelope at my desk at work, I don’t need to go back to the class to remember this flower or that flower.

After botanical line drawing, I moved on to 25 Banners Anyone Can Draw:

Again, I just followed along with Peggy (the Pigeon Letters), and everything came together in very banner like ways – my banners aren’t perfect, but everything takes a bit of practice.  My scrolls are a little wonky, and my lines aren’t so neat, but I can do it – and of course, you can too!

Persist, my friends, persist.

And, after I finished up with the banners, I moved on to 10 Easy Watercolor Projects Anyone Can Paint:

I like watercolors. They’re not messy, and they’re easy to clean up. However, they are kind of hard to manage – it is just colored water after all, that you want to manipulate into a certain shape.  And of course, it’s easier to do the work with the proper tool, and I don’t have any round watercolor brushes.  It’s on my list of things to get though, once I’m unbanned from online ordering.  My husband may have noticed all of those watercolor stamps and fountain pen supplies, and notebook covers, and stuff coming in the mail, and he finally said, what the heck?  So, I’m on time out until 3/8 when HSN has it’s next all day craft day, and I can’t miss that!

But, if you’re looking for a good way to spend 99 cents – I highly recommend Skillshare!

Yarning Along – the Mystery Way

And the Ambah Mystery is underway!

Mystery knits are always a crapshoot, but I enjoy them nonetheless.  This time around I’m joining in on Ambah‘s Hale-Bopp Mystery Knit-a-Long, some kind of a shawl, I guess with a comet theme.  As you may recall, I bought yarn, fell in dislike with the yarn, returned the yarn, and settled on this yarn:

The iron blue yarn is from Loop in London, and the rest of the yarn is from Loop in Philadelphia – fun, right?  Anyway, I hope my London souvenir ends up being a part of something lovely.

The first clue was released last Thursday, Friday for those down under, like Ambah.  The waiting, the waiting, the email that the clue is out, and then . . . drat! It’s  Turkish cast on!  Why can’t anything be easy?  Every day I just find myself exhausted because nothing can just be easy.  For instance, why did the Republicans have to shut down Elizabeth Warren?  ELIZABETH WARREN. SHE WHO WILL NOT BE SHUT DOWN.  Now, nothing is something, and anger just continues to seethe.  KnittyD. who is also knitting along, asked me if I thought I would have a snow day tomorrow – we shut down when the city shuts down, and I was like, dang, this city needs it – it needs to shut down for a day, and shake itself off.   I need some rest from this unrest.  And I’m onboard with the unrested – but one down day would be nice.

Anyway, where was I – Turkish cast on.  I had to watch a video, I had to cast on three times – once, because I ended up knitting in the round, once because I screwed up my markers and they were sliding up and down the long cord on my circular, and the third time was a charm:

As you can see, the Turkish cast on begins much like Magic Loop – the stitches are divided over two needles, created by forming wraps over the needles held together.  Unlike Magic Loop, though, you turn the work instead of knitting around – so with Magic Loop, the working yarn is going to finish off on the bottom needle, you switch needles, knit from the bottom needle to the top, and keep going around.  With the Turkish cast on, you turn the work around, so the working yarn is coming off the top needle, and you’re knitting in kind of like a “u”.  That’s my U above.  That probably didn’t make any sense, but I’m really proud of myself that I can actually talk my way through it.

And, yep, that’s a knit on icord edging – which I personally love – it makes everything look finished.

After the initial garter stitch beginning, it moves on to a slip stitch with the speckle, and then to a lace section:

I’m a little meh about it, because the speckle is just not made up of my colors.  I love the grey, I love the blue, and then . . . the speckle.   It says baby to me, but I don’t know, we’ll see. Onward!  The next clue comes out tomorrow.  The next clue is a 2 week clue, so it should be pretty significant.  Hopefully, I’ll love it . . . fingers crossed.

On the reading front, I’m still reading Michael Chabon’s Moonglow.  I just haven’t been reading that much.  I think I was at 10 percent the last time I posted, and now I’m maybe at 25%.  Again, onward!

Happy knitting!

I Am Foxy Fixed!

Sometime towards the end of last year, I decided that I had outgrown my fauxdori, a Travelers Notebook from dokipaper on etsy.  This notebook served me well, no question, but I lost the money clip that I had on the cover, and it left a really dark mark.  I also wanted a pen loop, and I was tired of my notebooks overhanging the leather.  Since I had definitely decided to move on, the question became, to size up or stay the course?

Staying the course meant, obviously, that I would continue to use the traditional traveler’s notebook sized inserts, which are an odd size, 4.33 x 8.25″, and that would be just fine, since I have the Midori Monthly Calendar insert, and the grid insert for my attempts at a bullet journal.  While I love the Midori paper, I think it’s Tomoe River, I hate that the weeks start on Monday.  Of course, there are inserts to buy on etsy, both printed and printable, but the May Designs notebooks caught my eye, and they’re 5 x 8.  So, I decided to size up to Cahier size, which would give me room for Moleskine notebooks as well, at 5 x 8.25.

Then, what notebook?  Chic Sparrow? Foxy Fix, Keelindori? I joined a bunch of Facebook groups, and lurked.  Watched videos of flip throughs, and decided that Foxy Fix was the place for me.  I made this decision probably in the first week of December.  And, wouldn’t you know, the Foxy Fix store shut down for a month, to expand and update their business model.  Great.  Do I wait, or do I switch my plan? So, in the meantime, I bought a used Chic Sparrow, a Mr. Darcy that houses my hobonichi.  Huh, I just scrolled back and realized that I had never taken a photo of it.  Drat.  Oh well – the Mr. Darcy leather is really stiff, and feels like butter.  I immediately loved it, but I also scratched it, pretty significantly within five minutes.  While it is really beautiful leather, I didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to carry one with me everyday.  There’s a difference between leather becoming used and loved, and another with unsightly gouges in it.  So, I started looking at other Chic Sparrow leathers, and investigating Chic Sparrow – and I guess, if you look deep enough into the rather obsessive planner community on Facebook, you’ll find scandal.  Apparently the Chic Sparrow woman misappropriated someone else’s art.  I read through all of the backlash, and I think it was probably an honest mistake.   I probably would buy a Chic Sparrow from one of her orphan sales, because I love a good sale,  but, I was put off by it enough that I switched back to wanting a scandal free Foxy.  Foxy’s only “scandal” it seems is slow production and turn around time, and a store that’s only open for minutes a day.

What?  The store is only open for a few minutes a day?  The big difference between Foxy Fix and Chic Sparrow is that Foxy Fix allows for customization – stitching, different pockets, embossing, spine reinforcement, etc.  Chic Sparrow does embossing, but stitching, pockets, the rest of it, are standard.  So, Foxy Fix naturally takes longer to ship than a Chic Sparrow.  Now that I have both, I really don’t see any difference in quality – its just a matter of how much control you want over your finished product.  Foxy Fix also has an option for a “wide” version of each size.  A compact version will hold about four notebooks, a wide, six or more.  But, because of the customization, and the desire to keep turn around time to between 5-10 (although, I think they may have upped it to 10-20 days), Foxy Fix limits the number of customized orders, and when they hit their limit, they shut down.  They do sometimes have notebook sets that are in stock – but you can’t customize them at all.

So, I twiddled my thumbs and waited for Foxy to get back online, I think it was the first week of January.  Of course, as soon as they did, the site crashed, and they sold out within minutes.  As an apology gesture I guess, they put up a sale of mystery misfits Foxy’s – notebooks that had small flaws, or they couldn’t sell for whatever reason.  I managed to get in on the sale, and picked a cahier sized wide – and I figured, I’ll probably be happy with whatever I get as long as it’s not purple.

And then, I got a purple one.  I really dislike purple.  I’m good with a pinky violet, or magenta (although not in leather ), but straight up grape ape purple is not for me.

This was the first one:

I also didn’t want to go with the one strap on a wide, and as you can see this is just a single strap.  And this is Foxy’s Moccasin leather – it’s sooo soooo soft, but it’s very very floppy, with almost no structure.  A lot of people got Moccasin in the mystery sale, and I think it’s because they don’t sell them like this anymore – if you get a Moccasin notebook, it automatically comes with a reinforced spine – an extra piece of leather sewn up the back for more structure.  Anyway, I sold this on Facebook in about five seconds for the price I bought it for, which was about 1/2 of what it normally costs since it was a mystery.

So, then I had to decide if I was going to deal with the store being only open at 11 a.m., until they sold out.  I decided I had waited this long, I might as well continue to wait, and about a week after it initially opened, on 1/16, I managed to get into the store, and place my order for a wide Rowena, with side stitching and pockets, no embossing.  I figured as long as it wasn’t personalized, if I hated it, I could always sell it.

Then, the next round of waiting took over.  The turn around time was 5-10 business days.  1/16 was a holiday, so I decided to just chill, and when it came, it came.  But, then I got a shipping notice on the 25th, and I was ecstatic – it’s coming, it’s coming!  But, it wasn’t – not according to USPS – even though I had paid for two day shipping, it sat in preshipment for days.  I kept refreshing my USPS shipping notice, checking my email for updates, etc., and I was making myself crazy.  I felt torn about contact Foxy, because based on the FB page, I knew that everyone, everyday is like, where’s my Foxy, until I finally contacted Foxy Fix’s customer service.  My experience with Foxy Fix was  . . . internet age I guess.  I emailed them on a Saturday, and by Monday afternoon, I still hadn’t gotten an answer.  So, I posted on the FB page.  Within seconds, I got a response that the customer service woman was checking on my order, and waiting for a text back from their shipping department.  I figured, she’s waiting for a text, I’ll hear something in an hour or so, or whatever, and then nothing.  So, I posted on FB again, and nothing.  And then I emailed, and got a response back the same day.  My order had been lost, they were remaking it and shipping it the same day, and as soon as she had a shipping confirmation number, she’d send it to me.  She also gave me a 10 percent discount code for my next purchase.  And, because I obviously hadn’t gotten my 2 day shipping, she refunding the entire shipping amount.  Then, I got nothing, and I waited.   Then, the next day, I got an email from shipping that my dashboard order had been cancelled because they were out of them, and again, I got another 10 percent discount code.   But, I didn’t get any shipping notice, or status on the actual order.  So, I emailed again, a bit huffy this time I think, and I got an email saying that the notebook had shipped out yesterday, and here’s your tracking number.  By that time, the notebook had already arrived in Philadelphia, and it would be on my doorstep the next day.  Yeah! So, it was a bummer that I missed out on the dashboard, but eh.  And, here she is – Rowena, Foxy Fix’s No. 7 in wide:

I have to say, I took my good old time opening it – I was really worried I’d have that seem feeling of meh that I did when I opened the grape ape one. But, no, this one was totally perfect – meet Rowena:

Here she is next to my old, faithful faux dori. Rowena is a sturdy, thick leather, that has a wax coating, and a slight sheen to it.  Every piece is different, and some are more shiny than others.  I’d say mine is mildly shiny.  Here’s the inside:

As you can see, it’s about 3x as thick as my original, it has secretarial pockets on both sides, and it is significantly wider than my original.  You can’t see it too clearly, but the inside of the notebook does not quite feel like traditional leather, and there was some chatter on the Facebook group that maybe this wasn’t real leather.  Believe me, it’s real leather – it smells like leather, it feels like leather – it feels like they just skinned it off the cow, frankly.  And, apparently, the explanation is that the hide is actually much thicker, and it’s cut against the grain, in half, to make it thinner, and appropriate for making stuff like notebooks and other leather goods.  This cutting against the grain is what causes that fabric like feel to the inside.  I love it.  And, I love the stitching on the reinforced spine.

Here are my May Design Books, that I’ve been waiting and waiting to use since the failed purple notebook:

Of course, after I bought them, and was excited to use them, I read on some forum somewhere that they’re not fountain pen friendly.  So, I did a little experiment:

This is the backside of a written on calendar page.  The fountain pen definitely has the most ghosting, but it doesn’t smear, and it doesn’t absorb right into the page making ink blobs or anything like that.  I’m ok with a bit of ghosting – it’s just a calendar.  And, I do love my fountain pen.

Since, I didn’t get my Foxy Fix dashboard, I made a few of my own.  Instead of laminating, I used a 12 x 12 scrapbook page, and with my Fuse Tool, I traced around a May book, leaving about an 3/4′ between the pockets.  So, my pockets are toploading, and I can switch out the paper.

Of course, one always has to be my sentencing guidelines.  Very exciting, I know.

And the other is just decorative, and it houses the notebooks I printed from AnniePlansPrintables on Etsy – there’s a Happy Mail Tracker, an Address Book, and an Online Purchase Tracker:

The only problem is – now that I have all of these little notebooks, what do I need my bullet journal for – each collection in my bullet journal now has it’s own notebook, and my to do lists are now in my May Designs Daily Planner book, that polka dot book above.  I guess I’ll figure it out as I go, because I’m not taking it out – the notebook will totally deflate without the bullet journal.

Which brings me back around to the beginning -should I have resized?  This notebook is really a doorstop.  I love love love it, but it takes up most of my purse, and I really had all of the information I needed in less notebooks before.

I’ll continue to ponder this dilemma as I see how things work out.  Back to the traditional size?  Or sized up, but in a compact not a wide?

Why can’t I just enjoy what I have before I start thinking about what’s next?

Sigh.

Anyway, should you buy a Fox Fix?  The product is awesome, really – but you’ll have to wait.  And wait.  First, there’s the struggle of hitting the website at exactly the right time.  I’ve seen people on Facebook fail day after day after day.  And, if you succeed, the turn around time is 10-20 days.  So, between attempting to purchase and receiving your notebook, expect about a month.  If you can wait, it’s worth it.

If you just can’t wait, and if you can get past the idea that Chic Sparrow copied someone’s drawing, and put it on a notebook, then buy a Chic Sparrow; she f’d up. I do really respect artist’s work, and copyrights, but I’m just kind of willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that she f-d up, and wouldn’t do it again.  Maybe I’m just rationalizing, because I think I probably would buy from her, since I really do love my Mr. Darcy, and would love to try a different leather from her.  I don’t know.  Her product is lovely, her business might just not be what you want it to be.

If you have any questions about any of this, I’d be happy to answer them!  I love talking about my notebook!

 

Tempest Tossed

On one hand, I feel like I should be running down to the airport, with my signs and my fist in the air;  not only is it the right thing to do, but I know that I would feel energized, and hopeful, and frankly, American.  But, the bottomline is, this President just doesn’t give two shits.  He doesn’t even give one.  Instead of saying, I hear you, he points fingers, and signs more executive orders, and with every day, gets closer to crowning himself king.

But, I go to my crafting to escape, and if you’re actually here, this place is an escape too – because you can find politics anywhere you look on the web, doesn’t have to be here.  So, if you’re curious, and you want to know the process, not the product, here it is.

I downloaded an image of the statue of liberty.  I cut it out, and stuck it to my paper with repositionable tape.  The first time, I watercolored, and inked around the statue.  Then, I pulled the mask up, and voila! An outline of the Statue of Liberty.

After I botched the first try, I used this as a draft to figure out where the writing was going to be.  If I had to do it again, and I guess I could do it again, since I splotched up the f in “lift” by sticking my wrist in the wet ink when I went back to cross my t’s – uch!  Muffed up right at the last second, when I was just about to call it done.  But, if I were going to do it again, I’d probably go back to the watercolor, and skip that purple ink – it just didn’t blend well, even with my Tim Holz blending pads.  And, then, after I hung my statement on the wall, where at least I care about it, I moved on to my new watercolor stamps.

I don’t know about you, but in between being horrified by the nightly news and my social media feed, I mindlessly watched CHA video after CHA video, or Creativation as they’re calling it now.  It’s a trade show, it wants to suck me into buying things, and I’m good with that.  New paper! New dies! New stamps! oh my!  The biggest time suck was the Blitsy swag giveaway.  Blitsy filmed 3 days worth of mini segments at a dozen or so booths.  At the end of every segment, they gave you a secret word, which was access to a giant swag giveaway.  I think it was during one of those videos that I discovered Art Impressions Stamps, well at least the watercolor stamps, because their line of strange heavy set lady stamps are a little bizarre to me, but there’s something for everyone I guess.

The watercolor stamps are watercolor painting cheaters.  You stamp the image with watercolor marker, or whatever water soluble product you have, and then you add some color, pull out more color with a wet brush, and you too can look like a watercolor master.  Well, close.  Well, closer than I would have without the stamp.

Because I was just experimenting, I bought the cheapest set on Blitsy, the mini- barn set, which I think was just about $9.  The bigger sets run between $17-and $20, at full price.

As you can see the set comes with three unmounted cling stamps that are just basic outlines of the images – the barn, the tree, and the fence.  Huh, I guess I should have taken a before photo, but no matter.  Trust me, you can do this! The image looks like the outline on the top of the packaging.  Because I have one package of Tombow Markers that’s missing the brown marker, I stamped in black, and then used my set of Koi watercolors to color in the barn, and the trees.  If you have a good assortment of watercolor markers, you can just add more color to the stamp.  You really don’t need to get out your watercolors at all if you really want to keep it simple.  Anyway,  I stamped the barn first, and then I masked it, so I wouldn’t stamp over the barn with the trees.  There’s a good video of how to do this on the  Art Impressions youtube channel.  Art Impressions uses a masking paper, which has a sticky substance on the back.  I just used repositionable tape, just like I did the Statue of Liberty.  So, you stamp the barn on scrap paper, and cut out around the barn any place you don’t want the stamp to show – so that the trees are in the background.  Then you position the scrap barn over the good barn, and peel it away when you’re done stamping the trees.  Or if you want to start with a tree, you can stamp the tree, create a mask for the tree, stamp the barn, and then create a mask for the barn, and then stamp the background trees.  The idea is, start with the image that’s closest in the foreground, and work your way back.  If anyone wants to see photos of how I did this, just leave me a message in the

And, of course, since I’m getting read for InCoWriMo2017, I turned them into easel cards:

Basically, these cards stick up like an easel – there’s a foam stopper covered with patterned paper that you wedge the card behind, but the card can also be folded flat to go in an envelope.  Of all of the Crafter’s Companion card tutorials, this is by far the easiest one.  You just take a sheet of 5 1/2 x 11 paper, fold it in half, and then fold a gatefold on one end, then you tape a 5 1/2/ x 5 1/2 square on that gatefold flap.  Apply foam, done.

Of course, I forgot that my ink was going to explode on the watercolor paper – should have just just lettered in the card stock.  Oh well.

Now that I know I really love these stamps, I ordered another set that has a flower stamp, it’s a mailbox with a bird and some foliage.  I definitely have ideas about combining the two sets.  I originally thought the flowers came with the barn based on the packaging, but they don’t.  You have to be careful when you buy these stamps to make sure of what’s actually included – sometimes you get more than you thought you were getting (there’s one set that has a barn on a cliff, and the set also comes with a lighthouse), or less (mostly foliage and flowers – there’s a separate foliage set, flower set, and tree set, but some of the projects do come with flowers).  And, of course, there are new sets coming out that debuted at CHA, although to me, they pretty much look like the old sets, although I think some of them have critters now, like a bunny or a squirrel or something like that.  They also have this pretty cool die that’s coming out- it’s a 3d frame, with an easel, so you can stand up your watercolor masterpieces.

So, that’s all for now.  Next, I’ll share my latest nonpolitical obsession, to fountain or not to fountain, that’s the question.

 

InCoWriMo 2017 – I’m In!

Big commitment, that International Correspondence Writing Month (InCoWriMo)!  28 days, 28 letters.   Am I in?

I’ve mulled it over.  I considered my failed participation in the League of Extraordinary Pen Pals, how I began writing to a group of people – probably 10 or so – and every, single one of them fell by the wayside.  My fault or theirs?  It doesn’t really matter – I didn’t do anything to follow up with the people who had stopped writing to me.  And, on my end, well, it was a confluence of things – I lost my original traveler’s notebook, my Wendori, which was a sweet burgundy leather that I made myself, and loved dearly.  My letter log, my letters, my stamps, my addresses, were all in there.  But, that’s just an excuse really – I could have gone back to the club’s database and found the addresses again.  Who I owed, who was behind with me, that was a different question.  Then, my father died.  I decided that was a good time to sort through who I needed to write to, and I proceeded to write at least 7 “I’m sorry I haven’t written, this is what happened”  letters and by the time I had related the story of my father dying in Mexico, getting his body back, and his truly ugly fiesta coffin, that looked like it would play cruiseship music if you opened the lid, seven or so times, I never wanted to write another letter again.  So, I didn’t.  And, in the end, only one person sent me a FB message, and was like, what’s up? and honestly, I just couldn’t explain.  It was like by writing that letter, I had written the last chapter with everyone.

And, that was two years ago, and I really would like to exchange mail with pen friends again – I’m getting really good at addressing envelopes, and I have none to write, nor send.  So, I’ve decided, I can do this – I’m in.  Here’s my plan.  Right now, I’m making cards and envelopes.  There’s no way I can sustain that – that’s old Wendy crazy pants who is setting herself up for failure.  Those cards and envelopes will go to the people who I either already know (hey Mindy – you’re getting a letter!!), or who I’ve actually committed to exchanging letters with (a handful of people I met on instagram).  When that is exhausted (probably the first 10), I’m going to switch to the box of notecards I already have sitting on my desk, because I liked the box, and because they were on sale at Papersource awhile back.  And, you know – I don’t need much of an excuse to buy another box of cool cards.  And, I’m going to write them when I get in, first thing in the morning by randomly selecting people from the InCoWriMo website.  Joe works 7-3, and since my job is flexible, I work 7-3 as well – but no one is actually in until 9.  So, over coffee and the hum of my space heater (since the thermostat for my office is at the end of the hall and if it’s turned up too high, those at that end are roasted – so I rely on a space heater), I’ll write short, happy mail letters.

Good plan, right?  At least it’s not March, it’s a short month, right?

So, to make my cards, I pulled out my Crafter’s Companion Ultimate Tool:

I got sucked into this big, plastic pink thing on HSN craft day – watching Sarah Davies and her British accent score and fold with this thing was mesmerizing, and I had to have one.  Did I really have to have one?  Let’s see, the pink thing opens up into these table top surfaces.  On one side, top right, you have fold lines for 12 x 12 paper, and 8 1/2 x 11.  If you turn the board one way, scrapbook paper, the other U.S. Letter.  There are scorelines for gatefold cards, half fold cards, and tri fold cards.  However, if you were to attempt to just look at the board, and make a card without reading the instructions first, that would be impossible.  The instructions are like a rosetta stone, and this board is totally worthless without out it.  Don’t lose the instructions!  The instructions give you the basic folds/score lines for those basic cards, however, if you want to get any more complicated, and “take it to the next level” as Sarah says, then you have to watch the accompanying DVD, and then the supplemental DVD you can get on HSN.  Sarah moves really fast, and for each card, I really had to watch the videos a couple of times.  For a more experienced card maker, maybe that wouldn’t be the case, but . . . in any event, I ended up making myself plain white cardstock templates, with detailed instructions about what size paper to start with, where to rest the paper – on the handle, or the other side, which line to use, etc.

But, I had a day off, as our heater was broken and I had to wait for the oil guy to come, so I had time to watch the videos, and they were certainly better than watching the evening news these days.  The problem with this machine is that it can’t really be used as a traditional score board.  For instance, if you see a card or project on line, and it has instructions that say, score at the 1/2 inch, 5/8’s and 2 inch – you can’t do that, because the board doesn’t have any measurements; that’s supposed to be the point — she’s done the measuring for you.  But, that means you have to do her projects, or take her basic card “to the next level” on your own.

The other work surface areas are an envelope maker, an envelope box, an embossing board, and box maker.  And, the board that has the arches and butterflies – you emboss the shapes, and then you cut bits of them out for either popouts or windows.The envelope side is supplemented by another product she sells, the enveloboxer, which is another pink piece of plastic that fits on top of the board, specific for envelopes with a gusset and boxes, and then she has a few other pink boards for other embossing tricks.  Again, to use her envelope maker, you need to use her measurements – and the measurements in the instructions do not necessarily match the measurements on her website.  So, I like to use my WRMK envelope maker – the only problem with this is that anything that starts with paper over 10 x 10 isn’t going to fit on the board, so you can’t complete the scoreline.  WRMK has solved this problem with their new envelope maker, that’s also a box maker and a bow maker, by adding a pull out section.

So, did I really need need need this pink plastic thing?  I like it.  It’s helpful, and I can imagine if I were still doing some book binding, and folding signatures, this board is perfect for that – you’ll always find the center, and the with the edges against the handle, you’ll always get a perfect fold.

And, here’s what I made:

This is called a step card.  Sarah has four different ways to change this up on the DVD, but I figured knowing one way for now is enough.  And, these are my WRMK CKMY stamps, with my handlettering.  I really like how the stamps turned out.  I’m not the biggest fan of the flower that I showed you before, but I love the typewriter, and I love this one.  And, with the Misti Stamp Tool, it’s really easy to position the stamps, and to put some kind of greeting on the paper that’s in the typewriter.  This cards stand up, but they can also open up, and I’ll write my letter inside.

Then, I made an explosion card –

This one flips up, and an origami folded letter pops open.  I figure I’ll fold the letter after I write it – its probably a little cumbersome to write it after.  Sarah says these cards are perfect for announcements and invitations.

I have a few more types of cards to make, but they’re easel cards, and I have a watercolor stamp coming that I want to try out, that’s being delivered today, so I’ll work on them this weekend.  So, I switched to envelopes –

This is the WRMK envelope maker:

On the bottom is a chart – you find the size envelope you want to make, and the board gives you the measurements.  Fiskars has an envelope board coming out that is a twist dial like thing – you dial up your paper size, and it spits out what size envelope you get, and vice versa.  Lot’s of bells and whistles and moving parts – this one is pretty simple.  The board also tells you where to line your paper up against the stop edge – in this case, I was making a 6 x 6 1/2 inch envie, so I needed a 10 x 10 piece of paper, which I placed the corner at I think 4 3/4.  Then, it’s easy peasy.  You position your bone folder against the edge of the nob, and score the groove that’s in the board.  Then, you turn the paper 90 degrees, lining the scoreline up with the blue thingy that’s sticking out, and you make another score.  You also punch the top, giving you the notch you need to make your envies without having to cut out what would be darts I guess if you tried to smoosh it together without cutting.  The Martha Stewart Board is similar, but she has a triangular piece of plastic that sits in the corner of her score board, and you score against the diagonal.  The thing I don’t like is that it doesn’t have the notcher.

So, here are my envelopes:

and:

Voila!  Ready to be addressed.  I haven’t figured out the size envelope I need for the exploding card, I was done for the night.  but, I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

By the way, the craft paper is Tim Holtz, and it’s really great for cards and envelopes – really sturdy!  I’m sorry that I’m at the end of my stash.

And, that’s the plan!  Have a great weekend!

 

 

Yarn Along – First Finish of the Year

Hello everyone!  Hope you started your year off on a knitting high note – it’s always good to wrap up the old, start something new, and plan the next thing, and so on . . .

My holdover from last year became my first finish of the year – behold, Braid Hills from Kate Davies:

After finishing the knitting, I was really kicking myself for not having read the pattern all the way through before I started.  In the photos, Kate is wearing the sweater with buttons, but on closer inspections, the buttons are decorative, and this thing is closed with snaps.  Apparently, the original pattern was written with buttonholes, but people found that the buttons caused gaps, I think because of the weight and pull of the cable.  So, she rewrote the pattern for a ribbon lining and snaps.  Uch.

So, here’s my ribbon, which I handsewed to the button (er snap) band. I made the mistake of sewing one on the other side as well, so when I close it, you can see the ribbon just a little bit.  I debated ripping it out, and resewing the snaps straight to the sweater, but, eh, it’s fine.

Then, I had to decide if I was going to bother with the decorative buttons, and opted to forego the buttons.  I have a lot of button down cardigans, so this is a little different look, and I think the buttons, at least the one’s I experimented with, detracted from the pretty cable.  So far, I’d say 2017, knitwise, is off to a good start.

Next!  Another Kate Davies, this time from the Inspired By Islay Club.  This is Ooa –

Ooa is knit in Kate Davies’ yarn, Buachaille, which is a little bit too expensive to make something this large. With the club, you do get a 10% discount on all things Kate, and hopefully, the perfect sized project will be revealed to try it out.  So, I’m using Cascade 220 Sport:

Before yesterday, I would have been totally singing Cascade 220’s praises.  When I worked at Rosie’s, I always recommended Cascade 220 worsted for first time knitters, as it didn’t split, and was always dependable.  This yarn . . . there’s no nice way to put it, ok, there is a nice way to put it, but I choose not to – the cream skeins are so f-d up they are nearly impossible to wind on a swift with a ballwinder.  The first two skeins were manageable – I kind of hand wound them to start off, and they eventually untangled.  Not the third skein.  The third skein broke my ballwinder.  Yes, it broke my ballwinder.  I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to hand wind it it’s so tangled.  Sigh.

But, here’s the beginning:

The bright photo shows my first cast on – yes, there was a first, and then a second, and then a third . . . the first was gauge challenged – way too small.  That’s what you get when you say, yep, I’ve got gauge after knitting five rows.  The second turned into a moebius – oopsy.  And the other photo is the third cast on – with size 6 needles.  I think US 5’s would make the perfect fabric, and if I had been willing to go for cast on 4, I would have switched to a five and knit a bigger size.  But, I stuck with the 6’s, and I’m pretty much at the armpit –

Now, I just have to wait for my new ball winder to arrive tomorrow, and I’ll be back in business.

Now onto future business – near future, next week actually.  Next week starts the Ambah MKAL, Hale – Bopp.  I’ve never knit an Ambah pattern, but I do admire them – especially knit up in the Miss Babs booth every year at Sheep and Wool.  This MKAL is a shawl that calls for three skeins of sock yarn – a dark, a light, and a speckle.  The speckle is optional, but Ambah used a speckle, and you’ve gotta love a good speckle, so I’m all about the speckle.  The MKAL is a partnership with Sunshine Yarns, which kitted up combos of yummo colorways.  I was infatuated with one of them, a plum, grey, speckle combo, but even though I hit the shop web page as the yarns were loading up on the screen, and even though I managed to get the one I wanted in my shopping cart, but the time I filled out my shipping address, it had vanished – I’ve never had an online shopping experience where something can actually disappear from your cart, and frankly, that sucks.  But, thems the breaks.  So, I did a stash dive, and came up with an iron blue skein of yarn that I bought while we were in London – so I played around with a few combinations with Hedgehog sock as the speckle:

I bought the top combo, but then had anxiety – I didn’t think the cream was quite right, not enough blue. So, I trolled Ravelry, looked at a few finished projects that used that colorway, and realized that I was correct in my anxiety, and I returned the first skein, for the second combo. I’m feeling much more confident.  So, that MKAL starts next Thursday night.  I probably won’t be done Ooa, but it’ll probably be a good time to take a break – hopefully, I’ll be in between sleeves.  I hate sleeves.

On the reading front, I finished The Nix (the beginning was much better than the ending), and now I’m reading Michael Chabon’s, Moonglow.

I’m not very far in, but so far I’m enjoying it.  More to report next time!

Anyone, knit on everyone, and take care!

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