Places I Knit

I’m going to be completely honest here. The majority of places I knit are entirely boring as 90% of the time I’m knitting on my couch, the passenger seat of a car, or work meetings. But I totally support knitting everywhere-and-anywhere (well, maybe not everywhere) and would love to hear about some of the more interesting places you’ve knit.

One of my favorite atypical places to knit is the beach:

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I don’t mind a little sand in my yarn. The most interesting place I’ve knit was on the porch of our honeymoon casita in Costa Rica:

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And perhaps the prettiest/strangest place I’ve knit was in the garden where we were married!

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Needless to say, yarn comes with me everywhere. I should probably work on knitting in some more exciting places, though.

This post was inspired by Where We Knit,  the very first Indie Untangled yarn club.

Beer photo by Jay R. Brooks

Indie yarn + pattern + surprise treat inspired by the different places we knit will be shipped out every quarter in 2016: Drops of Honey (nothing cozier than tea + knitting), Two Rivers (based on the Mississippi and the Hudson), At the Brewery, and the Beach in Fall. Sign ups are open now and run through December 20th. A lotion bar by Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe in a special fragrance inspired by the theme will be the surprise treat in one of shipments, too! See more details on the Indie Untangled blog.

What’s the craziest place you’ve knit?

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Rhinebeck Sweater: The Great Divide

That is admittedly a really dramatic title for a post that is a straightforward progress update: I’ve reached the part of my Rhinebeck sweater where I divide the back of the cardigan from the fronts for the armholes!

Rhinebeck Sweater: The Great Divide | Woolen Diversions

Divided!

I was super excited about reaching this point since it meant the waist decreases were over and it felt like something exciting would happen… but after decreasing at each edge for a few rows, this part is basically just going to involve 10 more inches of the same fabric I was already knitting.

Rhinebeck Sweater: The Great Divide | Woolen Diversions

Armhole decreases.

I modified the pattern slightly so that there are 98 sts in the back and 56 sts in each front (instead of 100 and 55) because I liked the way the decreases lined up with the patterning better. What I’m finding really interesting about sweater knitting is that yes, it can be complicated to choose a size and make alterations, but once you do that it’s no more complicated (or less repetitive) than a basic scarf for much of the knitting time. There are certainly fiddly bits but they are few and far between and for the most part, sweater fabric is pretty mindless to produce. Who knew? Andi of Untangling Knots has a couple of great posts about knitting sweaters here and here that I think are helpful for newbies.

In other news, I made some more soap! This is a slightly different variation on the aloe vera and goat milk Ocean Mist soap that I had my shop previously, as I tried a new pouring/swirling technique (read: the temperatures didn’t work out as I had expected so I improvised) and I rather like how the soap came out. The fragrance is a great blend of Sea Moss (floral, clean, gentle) and Down by the Bay (bright, astringent, salty) that I think is really refreshing in the shower and is apparently unisex, as the Fiasco has already claimed one as his own. I also restocked several bars of Lavender-scented sheep-shaped goat milk soap, if you were waiting on those.

I’m working on my prep plan for the Indie Untangled trunk show in less than 3 weeks (THREE WEEKS OMG) and I’m trying to decide which lotion bar or sheep-shaped soaps scents I need to have in stock. Are any of my lovely readers planning to go to the show? Any special requests of scents you’d like me to be sure to bring? I hope I get to meet some of you in person! Here’s a link to the event page on Facebook, if you want to share with your friends.

And man, less than three weeks? I better keep knitting!

WIPWed #74: Feeling Thankful

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US, and despite all the busy and the crazy and the deadlines swirling around my life right now, I’m feeling really thankful for everything this year has brought. At this time last year, we had just learned about my mom’s cancer diagnosis, and several surgeries and treatments later, she’s doing quite well and we are optimistic about her recovery. This time last year, I was still a fiancée, and now I have a husband who always knows the perfect thing to say to make me feel better when things get rough (such as, “C’mon, Alicia, what would Katniss do?”). This time last year, I weighed about 60 pounds more than I do now, and I’m hopeful that I will continue to make progress along this (stupidaly hard) path to better health. This time last year, I had never traveled outside the country, and I now have wonderful memories of sloths and howler monkeys and palm trees and Costa Rican rain drumming on tin roofs to soothe me when I need it (note to self: finish those recap blog posts!). And finally, this time last year my Sweet Sheep lotion bars were a mere twinkle in my mind’s eye, and now I’ve filled over 125 Etsy sales, received over 70 5-star reviews, and have over 390 ‘likes’ on Facebook. It’s been a rollercoaster of a productive and somewhat frenzied year, and when I feel ‘stuck’ or like I’m not making any progress, it’s incredibly beneficial and kind of amazing to pause and look back on it all with a sense of gratitude and appreciation.

Woolen Diversions

Free shipping for the holiday weekend!

To celebrate the holiday weekend (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday — oh my!) in one small way, I’m offering free shipping on all orders from today through December 1st. Use the coupon code “THANKS2014′ at checkout to receive free shipping on all domestic and international orders! Thanks for all your support, and consider shopping indie this holiday season. 🙂

And I cannot forget all my knitting and spinning in the list of things-for-which-I’m-grateful!

Baby Kalamazoo:

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CY Traveller, colorway Kalamazoo. Click for project page.

I knit this project in about 2 seconds flat (ok, 2 days) for a coworker who is having a little girl and going out on maternity leave today. I’m really happy with how the hat turned out. There are very subtle 2-stitch faux cables throughout the body which make for interesting texture without being overtly cabled. I’m thinking of incorporating this fabric into a larger design. And I just love the little i-cord loop at the top of the hat!

Overdyed Cypress:

Woolen Diversions

BMFA Twisted, overdyed by me. Click for project page.

My #NaKniSweMo sweater is nowhere near done, and definitely won’t be finished by the 30th, but I’m super proud of the fact that the back is finished and I’ve made good headway on the front. This is one garment that I’m actually going to complete, and that is exciting in and of itself.

Petrol BFL:

Woolen Diversions

Countess Ablaze BFL/silk/firestar. Click for handspun page.

To occupy myself while I wait for my new wheel to arrive, I started a braid of Countess Ablaze BFL/firestar/silk on my Babe. I intend to spin this as my ‘default’ yarn: a thin single that I then n-ply into a DK-worsted-weight yarn. I have two such handspun skeins in stash already, and have vague notions of spinning a bunch of color-coordinated BFL in this way and using them together in a larger project. I’m using this spin to take part in the Indie Untangled Knit/Spin/Crochet/Weave-along, come join us, there are prizes!

Finch Test:

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Abstract Fibers sample. Click for handspun page.

Finally, I’ve been spinning a bit on my new Jenkins Finch spindle. That photo shows all of the little sample it came with spun up, and later on I will ply a wee skein!

I hope you’re prepping for a wonderful holiday and enjoying all your WIPs this week! Check out other WIPs at Stitch Along Wednesday with Gracey.

Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show

While I’m filled with an epic sadness that I will not be at Rhinebeck (my friends keep insisting on planning their weddings in October!) I’m super excited that a sample of my Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe products will be there.

Woolen DiversionsIf you’re lucky enough to be going this year, check out the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show tonight from 5 pm – 7 pm at The Garden Plaza Hotel in Kingston, NY. A whole slew of awesome vendors will be there and I hear there will be giveaway prizes, as well. Get your Rhinebeck splurging started early with the likes of Canon Hand Dyes, June Pryce Fiber Arts, That Clever Clementine, Skeinny Dipping, and Knitspot’s Bare Naked Wools (to name just a few).

Woolen DiversionsI’ve sent up a selection of 10 different lotion bar fragrances (including autumn scents like Frosted Cranberry), 5 lip balm flavors, and 3 different gift sets (the All Natural set that Hunter reviewed, Fall Favorites, and Coffeehouse Specials). I hope some of you can stop by and sniff/sample in person!

And one last thing: I finally got around to setting up an e-newsletter for Sweet Sheep. If you sign up, you’ll receive a coupon code for my shop as a thank you (sometime next week)!

I’m bummed that I won’t be there to say hello and enjoy the festival, but I can’t be too sad that I’m heading off to California to celebrate the marriage of some dear friends! (Even though I can barely fit it in my carry-on, my new camera is packed and ready to take epic photographs of redwood trees, wooohooooo! I am ridiculously excited to see some big trees. BIG TREES!!!)

Have an excellent weekend, wherever you’re spending it. 🙂

WIPWed #64: De-Funking

Sometimes I find myself bogged down in the day-to-day of everything. Things become overwhelming, I start feeling impatient, and nothing I do seems to work out as planned. I don’t have any answers for how to feel better about all of that stuff, but I do know that coming home to a bunch of yarn-y goodies is a quick way to snap out of a funk.

Indie Untangled Swap | Woolen Diversions

Indie Untangled Summer of Love Swap

I participated in the Indie Untangled Summer of Love swap and my package arrived on exactly the right afternoon. My swap partner went with a beach-y theme and gave me delightfully beach-scented wax tarts and soap, beach reading material, and frozen drink mix. She also included some tasty healthy snacks and beautiful little fish box. She added some yarn from her stash as well as this gorgeous skein from Canon Hand Dyes:

Canon Hand Dyes | Woolen Diversions

Custom-dyed Canon Hand Dyes yarn!

My swap partner had Amy custom dye a skein of yarn in all of my favorite colors, and she totally nailed it! I hear this special Indie Untangled colorway will be available at the pre-Rhinebeck Trunk Show. I’m super psyched about this yarn. I’ve been wanting to try the self-striping Canon Hand Dyes yarn for a long time and have been stalking destashes to no avail. I can’t wait to knit this skein up.

BMFA RWC fiber | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Rockin’ Whorl Club Ecru Merino/Black Tussah Silk

I had another surprise waiting for me yesterday, as well: the August shipment of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin’ Whorl Club. This fiber is 80% ecru Merino / 20% black Tussah silk and it is just lovely. Tina dyed jewel tones interspersed with the naturally salt-and-pepper fiber. She named it Nanu Nanu in honor of Robin Williams. I love it. She told a story in her dyer’s notes about how her mother used to say things along the lines of “you are only as bored or as happy as you want to be” and she mentioned how spinning is her way of slowing down time and grabbing at that happiness. It was a little nugget of wisdom that I really needed to hear.

Three Waters Farm BFL | Woolen Diversions

Spinning some BFL dyed by Three Waters Farm.

So I dusted off my wheel (literally) and sat down to deliberately spin for the first time all summer. I took some of my favorite fiber and about 30 minutes to just enjoy myself. I highly recommend fiber therapy.

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Nature therapy.

I also recommend nature therapy. Over the long weekend I went camping with the Fiasco and a couple of friends and it was glorious. We unplugged from our computers and phones and just enjoyed each other’s company. We went to a Renn Faire, biked through the woods, swam in a pond, and ate s’mores to our hearts’ content. It was an excellent way to wind down the summer and it was something my soul really needed.

How do you de-funk-ify yourself, when needed?

FOFri #31: In The Bag

While my active WIPs are exactly the same as they were a month ago (as stated in my last post), a tiny finished object did make its way on and off my needles before ever appearing on the blog:

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Baby Bugga Set, click for project page.

A coworker of mine (the same one who designed my logos!) is having a baby in September and she requested a little hat for him. I used a bunch of Bugga leftovers (Common Emerald Moth, Yellow Fringe Doris, Blue Lobster, and Dog Days Cicada) in a somewhat randomly-striped slipped stitch pattern. I then made a couple of mismatched, color-blocked booties. I wasn’t sure how the color-blocking would work out but I admit that I’m charmed by their mismatched-ness! The whole shebang used up 46 g of leftover bits, which is pretty awesome.

I also wanted to blab about a few new project bags that have come my way recently.

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From Lizard’s Bazaar.

This pretty bag was made by Amanda of Lizard’s Bazaar. This is the large size. I originally bought a small size bag thinking it would work well for sock projects, but the unique triangular shape of the bag actually did not fit my large-ish ball of sock yarn (let alone the project to go with it). When I wrote to Amanda about this she was very gracious and let me exchange my bag for a larger size. I’m still not sure I’m in love with the triangular shape (it makes the bag appear much larger than it actually is on the inside) but the fabric is pretty, it seems well-made, and Amanda provided great customer service so I’ll certainly give it a shot!

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Made by Clever Clementine, via Indie Untangled.

A while back, Lisa from Indie Untangled teamed up with That Clever Clementine to offer a special Indie Untangled project bag for sale. Since Sweet Sheep is part of the Indie Untangled Marketplace I had to snag one, and I’m so glad I did! The bag is really well-made and a lovely size. It has a couple of slip pockets on the inside, a cloth string cinch, a nice cloth handle, and even a little string inside with a clip attached. I often clip my knitting bag to things so I think this will be a handy feature. (P.S. There’s a great giveaway happening on the Indie Untangled blog right now for a skein of yarn from Pigeonroof Studios! Just your basic enabler’s alert…)

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Dry sack from L.L. Bean.

Finally, I discovered something awesome on my honeymoon: these dry sacks from L.L. Bean make really great sock project bags! They’re made of rugged but lightweight nylon, and when they’re rolled up and clipped closed they are waterproof.

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Closed.

I admit I love the clip most of all. It was super handy while flying to just clip this bag around the strap of my carry-on so my knitting was secure and easy to reach at all times. I would recommend using some sort of needle protector, though, you don’t want the tips poking through the fabric if you want your bag to remain waterproof. I’m using a fabric DPN holder by pokdej that is doing the trick.

What’s your favorite project bag? Do you tend to use one type or different types for different projects? Is there a particular feature you requre?

Check out more FOs at Tamis Amis!