FOFri #48: Moonlight Pine and Spinzilla

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my first embroidery finished object (FO) post! I’ve finished a few bits and pieces here and there, but this is the first time I’m writing about one.

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CozyBlue design, click for pattern

This embroidery pattern, Moonlight Pine, was part of the CozyBlue stitch club. I am not part of that club, but I bought it off of a friend because I loved it immediately. The original design called for stitching the entire thing in a deep navy thread. I liked the look of that, but I had the perfect deep dark green for the needles, and decided to give it a go using different colors. Deep dark green for the needles, rich brown for the trunk, a lighter sky blue for accent lines, and the perfect sparkly silver and gold Lecien metallic thread that I purchased from Namaste Embroidery for the stars. The sparkly thread really pulls it together for me.

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Detail shot. SPARKLY!

I painted the hoop in a coordinating sparkly gold acrylic, and I really love how it came out. The stitching was quite simple on this piece, mostly straight stitches, but it was a pleasure to work because of the elegance of the design. It’s peaceful. I’m happy this is hanging in my home and am itching to get more hoops finished to join it on my wall.

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Inglenook Fibre batts on Jenkins Lark

Spinzilla (a.k.a., “spin as much as humanly possible” week) is a friendly competition organized by the TNNA that just finished last weekend. I spun for Team Webs and I’m happy to report that I actually managed to spin a little bit every day, which is not something I’ve managed to make time for since before I was pregnant!

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Loop! batt on Lendrum wheel, with bonus toddler butt

I managed to spin a bunch on my Jenkins Lark while playing on the floor with my son, and even snuck in a decent amount of wheel time to spin up a Loop! batt that’s been waiting in the wings for-freaking-ever to be spun. (Like for real, I started spinning the other single that I intend to ply with this one in 2013. Which is apparently when my mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer, so an update: 5 years later and doing well!)

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Spinzilla output.

By the end of the week, I had managed to complete a small 80-yard skin of the Inglenook Fibre batts (counting as 160 yards because one of the singles was spun previously) and about 705 yards of fine singles from the Loop! batt, for a total contribution of 865 yards. I am excited for Monday, when team yardages and winners will be announced. My contribution is teeny tiny compared to most folks’ output (I’m talking miles of yarn) but I’m quite pleased because, as I’d hoped, the week of spinning has gotten me back in the groove again. I have a lot of bobbins to clear and half-finished WIPs to sort out, so keep an eye on this space for more handspun because damnit if it kills me I’m going to finish spinning something this year.

🙂

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IS #89: Embroidery Edition

As I mentioned in my last post, I am totally digging embroidery lately. For my birthday last January, I took an embroidery class at the Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI and had a great time learning the basics. I even sewed a bag together on the sewing machine (which has always terrified me).

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Proof of overcoming irrational fears.

I’ve pretty much been hooked since then, and have found it to be a remarkably easy hobby to get into. It has a pretty low barrier to entry: you can do a lot with very simple stitches, the basic materials are relatively cheap, and projects can be finished quickly. I mean, what’s not to like?! So, as any sane person who just discovered they liked something does, I joined a year-long sampler club from Kiriki Press, which ships out a new sampler every 2 months. I really like their clean, cute look, and they often come with a little bonus pattern that fits in a wee 3″ hoop that is just too sweet. Michelle Galletta, the designer, creates the most adorable little animal doll kits, too. In a word, Kirki Press is the cutest. Most of the embroidery I’ve finished to date has been one of her designs.

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Current Kiriki Press sampler club kit in progress.

Next, I discovered the abundance of learning materials available on the Namaste Embroidery site, including a free pattern that I stitched onto a tea towel as a gift for my mom (sorry, can’t find picture right now). The designer, Jessica Long, also has a Craftsy class on Modern Hand Embroidery, which is really informative and great to watch because she’s clearly an artist and the way she paints with thread is inspiring. She creates these amazing floral wreaths… I basically want to make every pattern she has ever designed.

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Anemones and Succulents pattern, photo by Namaste Embroidery.

Another embroidery designer I’m starting to get into is of Lolli and Grace. She is running an autumn stitch-a-long right now with a free maple leaf wreath pattern available on her blog  that I am going to get started on as soon as humanly possible tomorrow.

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Autumn Leaf pattern, photo by Lolli and Grace.

To wrap things up here, a lot of my embroidery friends (that’s right, I have those now, virtually at least) really like the CozyBlue stitch club patterns. I’m not part of the club and I’m kind of lukewarm on some of the designs, but I did like one enough to seek out and stitch up, which I’ll be posting about soon. People also rave about the DropClothSampler patterns, which look a bit “folksy” to me and something about their clutter/uneven look really bothers my eye. However, they’re worth mentioning here as so many people love them, and you might, too!

Have you embroidered or tried a new craft lately? I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how good it feels to learn something new / do a deep dive into a new topic. I had forgotten!

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Me, Again

Hello blog readers, those that remain or those that have stumbled by anew. It’s been nearly a year since my last post and I have no idea how to really discuss that much time in one post, so I won’t even try, but a few stand-out things (some good, some sad) have occurred that I am compelled to share.

1) My Hatchling is now two-and-a-quarter years old! He’s so much bigger than he was in the last post, yet amazingly that sweater I knit him still fits– the magic of knitwear!

2) I’ve picked up embroidery as a new hobby (y’know, in my spare time) and I really love it. It’s like coloring with string! So much quicker and satisfying in a way that knitting is not, sometimes. There will be more on this later.

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CozyBlue stitch club pattern

3) Now for some sad news: I’ve decided to close Sweet Sheep’s doors. I’ve been taking on more responsibility at work and it was too much to grow my career while juggling a side hustle and trying to maximize family time (and maybe occasionally relaxing). It really breaks my heart to admit defeat on this, and I’m harboring a secret hope that I can open and develop new products again someday, but I’m grudgingly accepting that now is not that time. I appreciate all of the  encouragement and support over the past 4 years, it has been a really wonderful experience.

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4) Even sadder news: Just a week ago, we had to say goodbye to my sweet, sassy Calypso. She’s been featured on this blog throughout the years. She was my “heart cat”, as they say, the first cat that was all mine after college. She kept me company when I lived hours/flights away from all family and friends at my first job in Florida, moved into 8 different apartments in 5 states, was there for my first real relationships and meeting the Fiasco and getting married and having our first child. She was with me for 11 really formative years and it’s so strange and sad to be without her. She became suddenly very sick, though, and went through a ton of stuff over the past 6 months: pancreatitis, feeding tube, kidney issues, severe anemia, breathing problems, probable diabetes, possible heart disease, etc. and it was time to give up and let her go. It was not easy.

5) And now to elevate the mood a bit… last night I met the Yarn Harlot and she signed the book she wrote that taught me to make socks and now MY KNITTING LIFE IS COMPLETE. She taught a class called “Knit Smart” at the Stitchery (a great sewing/knitting workshop space in Portsmouth, RI where I learned to embroider) and she was so funny and as honest and clever as she seems on the blog and it was incredible how fast 3 hours spent talking about yarn and gauge swatches and running markers and how to count rows and needle sizes and selvedges etc. flew by. A non-knitter would never understand because I almost don’t even get it but all I know is that it’s restored my knitting mojo and I want to be more mindful of my creative life, and keeping up with this blog is part of that.

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Obsession is normal, indeed.

I post frequently on Instagram but it’s not quite the same as blogging, so here we go again! If you’re still active in knitting blogland, please comment. If you don’t blog yourself but have a favorite blog or three to recommend, please do. I’d like to rebuild the list of who I follow and cultivate a sense of community here again, as I’ve truly missed it.