Sunday, December 14, 2014

Craft stuff finds a new home

Talk about an emotional roller coaster.  Since my last post several exciting, but not necessary good things have happened.  First, the craft area is looking MUCH nicer.  My yarn and patterns are easier to access and the bedroom looks neat, tidy, and more comfortable. 
During my cleaning I decided that I didn't have the time or space to learn to sew, so there was no need for me to own TWO sewing machines.  One I gave one to a nice lady in my knitting group.  I told her that I'd take $25 or she could sew the ends into 25 WIP's.  She chose the non-monetary exchange and I'm loving it.  Wow, talk about killing two birds with one stone!  She has been dutifully working on the WIPs ever since, and each week I have several finished items that I can use as Christmas gifts. 
The other sewing macheine was given to a friend of mine from work.  She is a very generous and sweet lady who does all kinds of sewing and quilting projects.  She's also the kind of lady at work where everyone sees her as some sort of motherly figure.  You do what she says, because breaking her heart would hurt way to much.  Over this last summer she fell in the freezer at work (I work at a very large grocery store) and hurt her shoulder, arm, and hand.  So she's been limited on what she can do at work.  Despite her injuries, almost every day, she can be found sitting in the break room during lunch, hand sewing or cutting out bits of fabric for her Christmas gifts this year.  She is determined to get them done regardless of how much it hurts to use her injured hand, arm, and shoulder.  One day we started talking about sewing and she told me that when the electricity goes out during a storm, she uses her incredibly old, non electric sewing machine.  But that her current electric was having issues so she's been using the old non electric one more often.  So I offered her my other sewing machine for free.  It will save me space and I know that she will love and care for that machine.  Also, I know that it will be put to good use, where at my house, it was under the craft table collecting dust. 
Second amazing thing that happened over the past few months is that my husband found an awesome house for us!  Three bedroom, two bath, unfinished basement, wood floors, garage. . .  All the things we were looking for.  Most exciting thing for me is being able to put my craft stuff in it's very on room.  I'm also pretty excited about having a basement for storage.  We currently have a shed for storage, and nasty little things like bugs, bees, and muddobbers like to live in the shed.  So we don't use it for anything other then gardening supplies.  It's a rental house, so the bad news is that it's available for move in on Jan 2.  That will give us less then a month to pay the deposit, first months rent, and the pet deposit to ensure that the house was ours, AND less then a month to pack up our current home.  So, my amazing family helped out with the needed funds and I started bringing home large boxes from work and diligently packing up all the non-necessities.  Books, nick-knacks, pictures and artwork were taken down. . .  Lego displays were taken apart and packed. . .  Then the rental agent emailed us, telling us that they were denying us. 
Since then I have had friends and coworkers come to me with horror stories about this rental agent.  We are so thankful that we didn't get the house based off of the stories that I've heard.  My opinion of them didn't improve when I realized that they had actually declined us the same day we submitted our paperwork, but didn't bother telling us until all three checks I wrote them had cleared the bank.  Then they waited over a week before reimbursing us.  Really?  If we had been looking at multiple locations, holding on to that money would have kept us from securing another place.  And if they knew they were going to deny us, why bother even cashing the checks in the first place?  Why didn't they just return them to me?  
So I've been spending what little free time I have unpacking the boxes that had taken over the house and trying to finish Christmas knitting.  Besides not having to deal with a bad rental agency, the other bit of silver lining is that when I was in "we're moving" mode, I threw out so much stuff.  Our new goal is to look for a place that will be ready for us this summer.  Lets hope the "we're moving", lets throw stuff away feelings don't go away anytime soon. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Three Day De-Stash

I recently was able to get three days off in a row from work.  I have vacation hours that have to be used up before the end of the year or I lose them.  So I'm using my "vacation" to de-stash my yarn collection and clean up my craft area.  I currently have a long folding table in my bedroom that has boxes and totes of yarn, knitting supplies, mixed in with other craft endeavors like cross-stitch stuff, beading/jewelry supplies, and scrap-booking stuff.  I would like to get rid of the table all together.  It attracts more clutter, things that aren't related to my crafting stuff.  And that has to stop. I also have a five drawer dresser full of projects that needed the ends sewn in and blocked, plus more yarn.  A while back my mom boasted that she bought a plastic storage bin to store all her yarn in, then she came over to see my stash.  She couldn't close her mouth due to shock.  My little sister is way worse off (or better, depending on how you look at it).  My sister took her stash out of storage and laid the yarn end to end and it covered her entire basement floor.  And that was just the red heart brand of yarn!  My home is smaller then both of theirs, at a little less then 1000 sq ft, so my stash has out grown the space.  If you have been following the blog, you'll know that I've starting selling some of my hand dyed yarn creations on Etsy.  Well, my stash is so big that I don't have room to order more blank yarn to dye for the shop.  So my goal is to make room.  This means getting rid of some yarn as well as other craft supplies.  Honestly, it's been kind of hard to make some decisions, but it feels good to see the space coming together. 

Day one I accomplished:
1. Filled the back of my SUV with boxes and garbage bags of stuff to take to Goodwill.
2. Sorted yarn by size and put it in plastic storage totes.
3. Made a WIP space to store (obviously) WIPs.  It's kind of like an "IN" box that one might put on their desk.  I gave my husband permission to put any knitting item he finds around the house in this space.  The idea is that this space will encourage me to finish projects before starting new ones and keep the rest of the house WIP free.

Day Two I Accomplished:
1. Emptied the dresser and sorted that yarn in to the already established bins (I'm totally running out of space in the bins. . the lids won't fit. . . ).
2. Completely cleaned the dresser and the drawers with wood cleaner.
3. swapped the table and dresser so there there is more floor space next to my bed.
4. Sorted/tossed/reorganized all the random "other" craft stuff.  I now have a box of fabric, beads, paint, colored pencils, pastel chalks, and other art supplies that I've collected over the years that I'm going to give away at my next KIP.
*totally ran out of trash bags. . .  Making a trip to Target in the morning*

Day three I Accomplished:
1. Sorted the "not sure" yarn pile and added what I didn't want to the give away box.  The very same box that I'm taking to my next KIP.  Whatever is still in the box by the end of the night. . goes to Goodwill.
2. Went to various places around town, pricing shelving/organizing furniture.  I found what I was looking for at Bed Bath & Beyond. The 9 cube storage unit by Real Simple.  I know that one wont be enough, but it's a start.  There are shelves and drawers that I can add to it.  Plus other units that I can get to match it.  I didn't buy anything yet, I'd like to get rid of the table first.
3. Starting going though other parts of the bedroom, getting rid of stuff.  Sorted and organized my clothing dresser.  Ended up with a bag of clothes to add to the Goodwill pile.  Also discovered that the bottom drawer was full of more knitting projects that need the ends sewn in and blocked. Most of those projects where from when I first started knitting so most of those projects when into the trash.  I know, I know! What a waste! But the projects were things I'd made for myself that I know I'll never use and they were so roughly put together that I know that I'd never give them away as gifts. 

So over all, I don't have enough space yet to order more yarn.  However, I have a plan in place and a goal.  I'm also really enjoying the extra floor space in the bedroom. :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Addicted to Sock knitting

If you've been following this blog, you'll know about my attempt to knit 12 pairs of socks in 2012. . .  Well I almost made it but didn't complete all 12.  The problem came when I suddenly had no urge to knit on a sock project.  I just go tired of them.  Recently I joined a sock knitting group on Facebook.  The members keep posting all these amazing pictures of finished socks which got me inspired.  So I cast on and with in a few days I had a sock!

The pattern is Sailor's Rib from the book More Sensational Knitted Socks.  

After I cast on for the second sailor's rib sock. . I got start-itus again, and cast on this puppy. . .

This pattern is from the same book, but more on that once I have them done.

Yeah. . check out that yarn. . you've seen it before. . .  This is one of my hand dyed yarns that I talked about in a previous post ;) 
I made it using two different kinds of Kool-aid and I had lots of fun doing it.  Knitting up this sock seems more satisfying then any other sock I've knit up. . probably because it's my own yarn.  Gives me the warm fuzzes!

A Few More Dye Days via Photos

This yarn is for sale in my Etsy Shop!
This yarn is Also for sale in my Etsy Shop!!

This one too!! Check out all the yarns available in my Etsy Shop!!!

Interested in purchasing any of my hand dyed yarns?  Check out what's for sale in my Etsy Shop!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dye Day

I had two days off in a row. . which doesn't happen often enough.  So I decided I needed to dye some yarn.  I started with a hank of Bare Stroll fingering weight from Knitpicks and a hand full of Kool-aid packets.
The "BEFORE" picture

Two shades of red: Tropical Punch and Black Cherry

Decided it needed some Raspberry Lemonade

All Done!

Now the question is, do I love it so much that I want to keep it and make something with it?  Or do I want to sell it?  Oh decisions decisions. . .
If I keep it, it is the same yarn that I am using to make my Beekeeper's quilt.  So if I use it, any leftovers will be come a puff in the quilt. Hummm. . .   Please share your opinions!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Manhattan Music Festival

So a few weekends ago, I got to spend time knitting at the Manhattan music Festival. . .

That's the Hemlock Ring Blanket.  Love how blue this looks in the evening light of the concert.  I wanted my first attempt at this blanket to be washable which is why I went with Lion brand pound of love.  I chose this project because I really wanted to learn how to knit something "circular" in the round.  Once I get comfy with this I will attempt the shawl I wanted to make this past January, Evenstar Shawl.

Baby blanket factory

Following the footsteps of my little sister, I decided to try to sell hand knit items on Etsy.  My first Etsy projects will be baby blankets!!  So here's what I've been working on; 

This first one is made out of Effervesce by Yarn Bee in Creme de Menthe,  and the pattern is Sweet Pea Baby Blanket.  It was super easy and quick to knit up.  I never got board, which was surprising, because this blanket turned out so long. 

The seconded one is made out of Heartland by Lion brand in Grand Canyon.  The pattern is called Pine Forest Baby Blanket.  I really liked this one, the yarn worked perfect to show the lace pattern.  The neutral color is perfect for a boy or a girl.  So neutral in fact that it can be used as a throw or lap blanket when the baby grows up.

The third blanket is the famous (at least in the knitting world), Hemlock Ring Blanket.  I'm working this one out of Lion Brand pound of love, in white.  I'll talk about this one more in another post, once I have some more pictures. 

Now I'm having a hard time figuring out what to charge for them.  I'd like to get my money back on the yarn that I used as well as the time it took to make the blanket.  But, if I pay myself minimum wage for the hourly rate to knit up the blankets, each one would be REALLY EXPENSIVE.  So I'm worried that no one would buy them.  But I don't want to undercharge myself for the work that I put into them because that makes other fiber artists look expensive when they are not undervaluing their own work.  So I'm dealing with a moral dilemma.  If you have any tips on this or an opinion please share with me. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Open letter to The Fly Lady

Dear Fly Lady,

     I have considered myself a "fly baby" since 2004. I've never set your routines and zones into place.  To me, making a cleaning routine and sticking to it is perfection and I am a perfectionist who is easily overwhelmed.  So overwhelmed that I give up and decide that it's to hard to do it right, might as well not do it at all.  I know, I need to learn baby steps. . .  But that doesn't mean that I haven't felt the effects of your cleaning missions and email reminders.
     Today is July 21, we are in zone 4: Master bedroom.  Today's mission was simple; get everything out from under your bed and only put back what belongs.  Here's what happened:
  1. Sheets needed to be washed anyway, so the bed got stripped and everything is washing now.
  2. Only two storage boxes go under my bed, a winter clothes box (mostly my husbands stuff) and a box with gift tags, bows, and wrapping paper.  After moving those, I decided to move the bed away from the wall, knowing that a few things had fallen from the night stands onto the floor.
  3. What else did I find: 2 pens, 9 hair clips, 4 hair bands, a pair of winter boots, a pair of slippers, two socks that were not mates, two hair balls (a lovely gift from my cat), and enough cat hair to support a litter of kittens among the dust bunnies.  The carpet is suppose to be a coffee brown, this carpet was gray.
  4. Picked up everything, and everything that I was keeping was put in its proper home.  Then a major vacuuming was needed.  
     I have no idea when the last time the floor was cleaned under my bed.  But after this experience I felt a bit confused but happy. . Confused because no one but my husband or I will ever actually LOOK under our bed, so I can't feel embarrassed by that mess if people come over.  Your original task was just to get rid of stuff that doesn't belong, not a deep cleaning.  But, under the bed is where my cat likes to hide/hang out when people he doesn't know come to the house.  It's where he likes to hide when things get scary or when we go out of town over night.  It is where he would develop an upper respiratory infection if it wasn't kept clean.  You just saved me a few hundred dollars in vet bills.  So thank you!

Sarah the "fly baby"
P.S.  It only took me about 20 minuets to do all of this.

If you are reading this most and are not the Fly Lady and want to know more about who she is, please visit her website

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Crawling out from under my rock. . .

Wow, where have I been?  Not here, sharing my thoughts on my blog. . .  Work and personal life has been kinda bumpy.  So I haven't been doing the things I love very often.  Like knitting.  (I'll wait right here while you pick yourself back up off the floor)  So, no.  No knitting in the past four months or so.  I also haven't bought any yarn or patterns or needles.  Creatively speaking, I haven't purchased craft supplies in a very long time.  At least it feels like a long time.  So what have I been doing?  Well, last summer my Grandmother moved into a small apartment.  Which meant that a lot of her belongings had to go.  Along with some very pretty glass knickknacks, I inherited her cross stitch DMC floss.  My mother-in-law gave me most of her collection a few years back and I already had a lot of my own.  So I started sorting though them this past February, mixing Grandma's into my collection.  It got me thinking about how I don't really cross stitch very often, so why was I going through the trouble of keeping it?  Why spend so much time when I may never ever use it?  At this point I had already set aside my knitting.  So I went through my cross stitch stuff and found a project I'd started but hadn't come close to finishing.  So that's what I've been working on:

When I pulled this project out, it was just the pointe shoes.  So, from February until early May, I did the roses and leaves and some back stitching.  It's only about 45% done.  Here is what it should look like when it's all done, sorry for the blurry picture:

I originally started this because I wanted to decorate my bathroom with a ballet theme.  Light pinks, black, grey, and chrome.   Since my husband and I still rent, it's not really in my best interest to go out and spend money decorating our house the way I want my dream home to look.  But that doesn't mean that I can prepare for it now.  So ballet inspired cross stitch it is. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014


I'm not sure if I've mentioned the FlyLady before, if I have, sorry for the repeat.  
The FlyLady is one of my heroes.  In preparing to organize my stash, I've started getting rid of things.  Not anything craft related, not yet anyway.  But following the FlyLady's cleaning routines has made a difference is just a short amount of time.  So, here's my FLYing story: 

FLYing refers to Finally Loving Yourself.  By taking the focus off of what I couldn't or didn't get done in a day to allowing only 5-15 min per task on my to do list has made life less stressful.  Yes, the to do list is still long and a bit overwhelming when you look at the whole thing.  But, when I give myself a time limit to work on a specific project, knowing that if I don't finish the project, that I can go at it again tomorrow, has made things less stressful.  It has made me feel productive with less negative self-talk.  I have defined deadlines at work, I don't need to do that to myself with my personal life.  One point she makes is that procrastination is a form of perfectionism.  If something can't be done perfectly, then we put it off, making the job much harder when we do have to deal with it.  I see that in myself, in the way I clean, get my car fixed, even in my knitting.  If a job seems to hard, then I don't do it right away.  That's what the book is about, though, it appears to be a cleaning book. . . 
I first read the book in 2004.  I signed up for daily emails and reminders.  At first it was totally awesome.  I'd come home from work and then look up what tasks had been emailed to me.  It got hectic really quickly.  I lived with my husband and a roommate, who had her own boyfriend who semi lived with us.  I was working two jobs, about 60 hrs or more a week.  I soon lost focus, decided that since I couldn't do it perfectly every day, that I wasn't going to do it at all.  And no, I do not blame the FlyLady for this, she said that my house didn't get dirty in a day, that it wasn't going to get clean overnight.  I expected miracles that involved cleaning fairies and magical spaces that would hold all my stuff.  Once my husband and I moved into our own place I realized what the problem was.  We had to much stuff for the amount of space we had.  Well, we couldn't afford a bigger place so the other option is to get rid of things.  In comes the FlyLady again.  One of her first bits of cleaning advise is to just focus on de-cluttering.  Get rid of the things you don't love and cherish, all the extra stuff is just junk that you have to keep clean and store somewhere.  
Ten years later and I still consider myself a "fly Baby".  I don't have a daily routine down, but what I do have is a good understanding of the work involved in keeping myself sane.  
Check out her website and maybe read her book (though the info you'll need is all on the sight). 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Dishcloth Distraction

I recently went to Wichita Ks, to visit my sister and her family.  It was also my niece's birthday. .   We did go to Heritage Hut, a lovely yarn store, where I found this:

A friend of mine made Stephen West's Boneyard shawl out of this yarn, and ever since I wore her finished shawl, I've wanted some of this yarn.  It was in the clearance section, so I bought all that they had.

I also acquired these:

Thanks to my little sister, whom I blame for the dishcloth distraction, my stash has grown.  She had recently laid out her stash, end to end, and it covered her entire basement floor.  I guess seeing how much yarn she had made her decide that she really didn't need so much of it. . so she gave me a bag of dishcloth cotton.  At first she told me to go through it and just pick out what I wanted.  I picked out two balls, then told her that if she wanted to give me some of it, that she should pick out what to give me.  That's when she went to go get a bag to put it all in. .   When I got back home, I combined my new cotton collection with my current stash.  I started going though the yarn, sorting out full balls from leftovers.  Next thing you know, I knitted these:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why didn't I think of that?

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my SnB Peeps?  Well I do. . .  
I was talking with one of the other Evenstar knit-a-long participants about my problems with the cast on.  Her suggestion was to just cast on nine stitches and join in the round, the hole would be small AND I could use my tail to sew it closed once the shawl was done. .   
The solution was so simple and right in front of me. . .  
Thank God for my knitting support group!

Planning, but no progress

The Evenstar cast-on still alludes me.  I'm going to meet up with my SnB friends tonight, so hopefully I'll have the shawl started tonight.  Since I've had a bit of the "startitus" since attempting to cast-on this shawl, I've made a few dishcloths.  Dishcloths were my way of distracting me from working on my scarf (see previous post).  I have discovered a black hole in my scarf pattern.  I can see the ball of yarn getting smaller and smaller but the scarf seems to be never ending.  I feel as if I'm just knitting and knitting and the thing will never come to an end.  It has all the makings of a non-boring pattern, but this project has become boring. .  My plan, at first, was to keep going until all the yarn was used up, but now I'm thinking that I'll stop once I get to the same place in the color changes as to where the scarf started.  I really want to just give up on this project.  But prevail I must, at least to the next color change.  The scarf is already long enough and planning to cast-off where the color changes, I think, will make it look more uniform and planned out.  
Aside from dishcloths and black holes, I've been focusing on my organization skills.  I still haven't found the right shelving for my stash.  But I have found several options that won't be to expensive.  I've chosen against wire shelving because I'd like my books to be organized with my yarn.  I'd also like to get some nice baskets to hold small balls of yarn, leftovers, and projects that need to have the finishing touches done.  The rest of the yarn, I want to be able to see.  But most importantly, I want to get rid of the dresser and table.  I'd rather have a small desk for the sewing machine (that I never use) and a comfy chair to knit in.  More shelf space, less boxes and baskets of stuff on the floor, overall cleaner crafting area.  The scary thing about this is that I might have to get rid of some of my craft supplies to make this happen.  I'm not sure if I'm ready to do that yet. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Circular cast on = Ugh!

My knitting skills are being tested. . seriously.  I can't get the hang of the cast on needed for the Evenstar shawl. 
During knit night, I started using some spare lace wt. and size 3.25 double points, using some written instructions. . and it wasn't happening.  So when I got home I started looking though videos and I found this:
I then decided that I'd try it with sock weight, making it a bit easier until I got the hang of it.  WRONG!  For some reason, after I finish the first row, my knitting us upside down.  So, I'm going to have to wait until I can sit next one of my SnB peeps, show them what I'm doing, and maybe I'll have a shawl cast on by next week.

This is really bothering me, mostly because I've been playing in my stash and I now have that itchy feeling of startitous, where I really want to start a new project.  But I keep telling myself. . you have a shawl you want to make, evently you will get the cast on and all will be ok.  Also, I'm still working on my foreign correspondents scarf.

So calm down!

Knitting in 2014

Last year my New Year's Resolution was to not purchase any more yarn.  I made it to October-ish. .   My LYS announced that they were closing and everything had to go. .   I made several trips and made it home with some really nice stuff.  Yes, getting expensive yarn at a cheaper price is nice, but the actual shopping for the final few times was not.  I visited the store three times after they made the announcement that they were closing.  Each time was a very depressing shopping trip.  Mostly because I kept thinking, "this will be my last time to come in here."  I used to visit the shop, with no money in my pockets, just for inspiration.  I used to go in just to smell and/or squish some yarn.  And now I don't have that.  Sure, we have a Hobby Lobby and a nice JoAnn's  but there's something about squishing alpaca/silk blend that you can't find at a craft store, or smelling Lamb's pride wool.  Now that I can't visit a yarn store as often as I'd like, I've decided that I needed to display my stash.  Set it up so that I can smell and squish and be inspired by what I already own.  
Here's my current situation: 
the "Craft Table"
the "Yarn Dresser"
Most of my stash is stored large Ziploc bags in the "Yarn Dresser".  The top drawer is full of projects that need to be blocked and the rest is stash.  There is also stash in the plastic tubs next to my dresser.  Obviously, the tubs aren't enough since I'm overflowing with sock yarn.  Also, the yarn dresser just so happens to be a broken dresser.  *sigh*  so I'm looking in to shelving and cute baskets.  Something where I can get rid of the plastic bags and have my yarn where I can see it.  Hopefully that will be all it takes to find my knitting mojo again.  

Sunday, January 12, 2014


My knitting New Year's Resolution for 2014: Knit the Even Star Shawl by Susan Pandorf.  

So far I have a swatch:

The idea for knitting this came from my knitting group, Manhattan SnB.  There were several of us that wanted to knit this.  One of the ladies is an amazing lace knitter and has offered to help each one of us out.  We're going to call her KnttaMama.  Thank Goodness KnittaMama is so willing to be there for each of us!  I'm going to need some serious help.  I've knitted lace before, just not with actual lace weight yarn.  There are also beads involved which I've never used before, *deep breath*, I have also never knit anything round. . not like a hat (in the round) but like a mathematical pi.  KnittaMama has done all of these things, many, many times.  So we're doing a knit-a-long.  I think it will be slow going for me.  The pattern looks complicated and the instructions seem to be all over the place.  I printed the pattern out and it was 19 pages long!!  *le sigh* My goal is to have this completed by Thanksgiving 2014.  I'm so glad I have a great knitting support group to help encourage not only me, but all of us to be better knitters!  I'll post progress pictures as I go along!  

Kitty Needs a Home Update

So a long while back I wrote about a cat that was living under my house.  She was affectionate and seemed very relaxed around me, so I thought she'd make a good pet for someone.  So I started calling around. . I was able to find a no kill shelter near my house (which is surprising since I live out the country) that, if they were able to make room, would take her.  The other condition was that she had to be Leukemia (FeLV) free.  I would compare FeLV in cats to AIDS in humans.  It's the number two cause of death in cats.  So, our goal was to get the cat to a vet.  Here is where things went down hill fast:  I had to trap her. . get her into a pet carrier. . I tried for two weeks, every time I saw her.  She had a towel that she'd slept on, so I put that in the carrier.  Didn't work. . so I started putting the food dish in the carrier.  That sort of worked.  She was scared of the carrier.  I tried being mean and forcing her into the carrier.  That was a mistake.  She is now scared of me. . unless I have food to offer.  So maybe she wouldn't make a good house pet.  I just wish I could get her to a vet, do the FeLV check and get her fixed.  She's a tough kitty, she's lived under my house during the coldest winter I've ever lived through.  And the issue she was having with her eyes seems to have cleared up on it's own.  So she's a fighter, so I'll continue feeding her.  If I can get some updated pictures of her, I'll post some on here.