FOFri #46: All I Finish Are Hats

I seem to have finished knitting hats, and only hats (ok, except for one pair of gift socks), since November. Eight hats in five months, two of which you can find here, one here (which I knit twice), one more here, and the remaining three in this post.

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Speckles for baby and me.

Happily, all the plain stockinette that’s involved in knitting a Sockhead Slouch Hat (designed by Kelly McClure) is totally worth it, because I adore the finished product. The colors are my favorite, the speckles make me happy, the ribbing is super cozy, and the length is just right for a good amount of slouch. I modified a few things in my version: I used a sport-weight yarn (BMFA Socks That Rock Mediumweight), cast on fewer stitches (136), and knit to a shorter length (10.5″ total) before the crown  decreases. This removed some slouch and is just right for my head. I will update my project page with measurements later, as I did not get a chance to do so yet.

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For the wee one.

Because I COULD NOT RESIST, I knit a wee baby hat for Hatchling so that we could be all matchy-matchy. I really should have done longer ribbing for the rolled-up brim, but alas I did not. I used the same yarn and needles (2.75 mm) and cast on 88 stitches in a gauge of 7 sts/inch, for a hat that should be approximately 12.5″ around after blocking, unstretched. Newborn heads are typically 13″ or so, but with the stretchiness of the fabric and the fact that I can roll the brim down as the kid grows, I’m hoping the hat will continue to fit for a while, because that little i-cord loop at the top is just too damn precious.

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Frida for a friend.

I had intended to make this hat (Fidra, designed by Gudrun Johnston) for my friend’s December birthday. However, it’s March, and it’s still sitting in my house. It went through a failed iteration with inappropriate yarn, and then waited weeks for a pom-pom, and now I just haven’t gotten around to mailing it. Despite that, the finished product is pretty fabulous. Knit with the called-for yarn (BT Quarry) and needles, it’s actually a little snug, so I hope she likes it as I know she likes her hats on the bigger side. If you’re finding the Quarry yarn difficult to work with (it’s basically unplied pencil roving) I’d recommend going up a needle size or using metal instead of bamboo. Going up a size would give everything a bit more room to move around and the size would probably still work out fine.

So there are my hats! Sorry none of them are modeled, I haven’t had time for proper photoshoots lately. When the kiddo arrives I’ll be sure to take a mommy-and-me shot in matching hats, middle-of-summer heat waves be damned. 😉

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WIPWed #117:Back in the Swing

After my lack of crafting motivation recently, I’m finally getting back in the swing of things a bit.

Speckled Sockhead:

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BMFA Socks That Rock Mediumweight, rare gem colorway. Click for project page.

I decided to end my Sockhead hat a couple of inches early, as it seemed ridiculously long already. I just need to bind off, block, and check the fit, but I’m not willing to call this ‘done’ until I’m sure I won’t want to add more length.

Christmas Katniss Socks:

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BMFA Tigger Targhee in Gnome for the Holidays. Click for project page.

I finally re-drew the chart and am well on my way on the second sock. These are just a tad bit boring (mostly ribbing) and the colorway no longer feels like the kind I want to be knitting at the moment, but they go quickly when I actually work on them so hopefully I can wrap them up sooner than later.

Sherbet Baby:

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Play At Life Fiber Arts DK in Pastels gradient. Click for project page.

The sweet little rainbow cardi for my Hatchling was zooming along, and then I stalled out when I had to make a decision regarding trim color, because I was waiting to find out the baby’s sex. Well, we found out yesterday:

WE’RE HAVING A BOY!

For some reason, the Fiasco and I had kind of convinced ourselves that we were probably going to have a girl so it’s been a bit of a mental adjustment to imagine myself as a mother to a son! We’re going to have a little dude running around! Ah! So I’ve decided that the trim color on this cardi will be a deep forest green, which I think will go nicely with the turtle-shaped buttons I’ve picked out. Now, to start browsing all the boy-ish knitting patterns on Ravelry and pick out a name… the Fiasco is leaning towards Megatron or Copernicus. 😉

As for reading, I’ve barreled through a few random choices that I had hanging around the house:

I’m now reading Baby 411, which is not super exciting, but probably important, right? Linking up with Yarnalong.

WIPWed #115: How Many Times

How many times must one knit a hit, before one gets to have a hat?

Skunk Reborn:

I re-knit the Fidra hat of last week into… another hat I don’t like. I attempted to get fancy with the decreases, picturing a turn-a-square garter stitch situation, but I just ended up with a very pointy, flat-topped hat. I need to start the garter detail earlier, decrease faster, decrease in more places, or try all three. Either way, this hat is getting at least partially frogged again.

Speckled Sockhead:

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BMFA Socks That Rock Mediumweight in a OOAK colorway.

I remembered to bring my Sockhead hat home for photos this week! As you can see, progress has been made, but I think I still have a few more inches of stockinette to go before I can decrease. I really like how the colorway is knitting up.

Merino Mind Bullets:

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BeeMiceElf Merino fiber, colorway Mind Bullets

I’ve enlisted my new glasspin spindle to help my Turkish spindle along in my spinning project. I’m pleased to see that I’m achieving a similar thickness even though I’m using different tools, so I’m hopeful that the yarn will ply up fairly evenly.

As for reading, I’m still working through Michael Pollan’s Cooked. I may have spoken a little too soon last week when I said it was boring, it got much mroe interesting when he began talking about bread-making and fermenting. I think it’s because those chapters were more similar to the content of my favorite book of his, The Botany of Desire, where he details the way that a few different domesticated plants and humans essentially co-evolved. Here, he’s setting up the same kind of discussion with different forms of yeast, so the writing is more botanical/biological in nature and less philosophical. Anyway, I’m seeing it through.

And that’s about it from me this week! Not too much knitting happened since I’ve been enjoying my new spindle, but that will soon change as I have many knits I’m itching to get started on. Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

More Pretty Things

The stash-enhancement around these parts continues due to holiday/birthday funds, so I figured I’d share the goodies!

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More lovelies from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

I couldn’t resist adding another skein of BMFA Tigger Targhee to my stash, so I grabbed one in the most icy blue ever (Let It Go… Let It Go). I also acquired another skein of Yaksi (a heavenly DK weight blend of 60% wool/ 20% yak/ 20% silk) in Shoqua (in case I run out of yarn on my Yaksi Cancan shawl) and one skein in Tanzanite (because it’s pretty and I want a purple hat).

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My happy mailbox visitor.

My mailbox made me smile for other reasons last week, too. I received a funny card and lovely little holiday sloth from Audry to cheer me up after the rough few weeks I’d been having. The kindness and generosity of knitters and internet friends never cease to amaze me. It makes me simultaneously happy that I get to know so many wonderful people virtually, and sad that we can’t easily hang out in ‘real life’. Perhaps someday. The wee sloth now keeps me company in my office. 🙂

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New birthday spindle!

Finally, the Fiasco humored me with a new spindle for my birthday present. I’ve been eyeing up Meilindis’ beautiful spinning and admiring the lovely Mingo and Asho glasspin support spindle she’s been featuring in her blog posts. Glass-tipped spindles (or glindles) have been notoriously popular and hard to get a hold of from Bristlecone (whom I think were the original makers) so I was very happy to see other artists begin making their own versions.

I especially love the pyrography featured on the spindles. The trees, birds, and sunrise cattail landscape are so delicate and detailed, it’s truly beautiful. This spindle is 11 inches long and weighs 1.75 ounces, and the shaft is birdseye maple with bubinga and mahogany accents.

I’m super duper in love with it. I’ve also come to the amusing conclusion that I think part of the reason I love support spindles so much is that they feel an awful lot like owning a collection of magic wands. I AM A WIZARD.

Ok, we’re done here.

Some Pretty Things

My drafts folder tells me I began this post 11 days ago, which is a good indication of how much I’ve been meaning to blog lately but have not been able to. That said, some work deadlines should be calming down soon and life should be returning to a less hectic level (fingers crossed). On my last post, Audry asked me how I’ve been keeping up with things lately and I must admit, my wonderful talented dedicated selfless husband is the only thing that got me through the weekend. He set up for our Sweet Sheep show so I could sleep, he made lotions and lip balms like a madman Saturday night so we’d have more stock for the next day, and he was an ever-charming salesman when I didn’t have the energy to be on my feet. Basically, he’s the best partner I could have ever hoped for and Knitting Weekend event at Slater Mill was a success for us, largely because of him. 🙂 And, if you’ve been waiting for any re-stocks, we’ve got lots of new goodies (including sheep-shaped soaps) up in the shop.

The marketplace was filled with all sorts of pretty things but I came home with just two items, from a couple of my favorite local vendors.

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Knitting weekend stash enhancement.

I am absolutely terrible at resisting any of Chrystee’s beautiful colorways (Play at Life Fiber Arts), so whenever we’re at a show together I usually have to come home with something. This time I justified my purchase as a sweater for the Hatchling. I think this rainbow set will make a fun gender-neutral striped Babycakes cardi, perhaps with a white or dark green yarn for the trim. And then, of course, I had to get the cutest buttons I’ve ever seen for the baby sweater: tiny turtles from Katy at Katrinkles. Purchase justified.

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Tanis Fiber Arts gift bundle.

While I’m sharing pretty things, here is some of the yarn I received as gifts over the holidays. Above is Raindrops gift bundle from Tanis Fiber Arts. I’ve admired Tanis’ blog and yarns for a long time, but had not yet stashed any so I’m particularly excited to work with this yarn. It’s a lovely skein of 75% Merino, 25% silk fingering weight yarn in pretty pastel purples and blues. I also really love the bag and have hung up the calendar in my office (which my coworker accurately described as ‘yarn porn’).

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts stash enhancement.

And it wouldn’t be the holiday season without a healthy dose of pretty things from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. On the left is a skein of BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight in the special Rhinebeck 2015 colorway that I wasn’t able to snag at the festival itself. The middle skeins are BMFA Socks That Rock Heavyweight in Golly, a rich, deep red. The skein on the right is some of the new Single Silky Targhee in Fir-Ever-Green. I have a general idea of what these skeins will become (socks for me, socks for Fiasco, hat for me or sweater for baby, shawl of some sort) but no concrete plans yet.

Has your stash been growing or shrinking since the holidays?

Exhaustion Doesn’t Cut It

The past couple of weeks have utterly worn me out. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend was fun but busy with lots of traveling. Then the following week was non-stop work for a very large deadline that is still somewhat looming over my head. Then this weekend we moved. Packing, moving, and unpacking rate very highly on my list of least favorite things, but my Fiasco is a magnificently talented moving master, so it all went smoothly. He and his brother and mom really put the hustle on and made moving as painless as possible. They’re wonderful and skilled in ways that I am not. In fact, my dear Fiasco single-handedly painted the new walls (who thought poop-brown was a good wall color?!) and painted over our old walls (goodbye teal, yellow, green) and cleaned the old place up without a finger lifted from me, as I’m still working on that damn deadline.

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Sage green is SO MUCH NICER than poop brown.

I know, I’m lucky.

Needless to say, my knitting has suffered. I have yet to cast on the mittens I talked about 12 days ago, and the only thing I’ve done is a bit of ribbing for a Sockhead Hat:

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This is the only project of which I’m currently certain of its whereabouts, since it lives in my purse. Everything else is in Tower of Boxes Limbo Land. It’s not a super interesting knit but I am really loving the yarn (a mediumweight Socks That Rock mill end) and it’s going to coordinate perfectly with my favorite bright blue fleece.

It’s interesting to see the split in bloggers’ attitudes towards the upcoming holidays. Some are in full-on confident gift knitting mode, aiming to knit a bajillion-and-0ne-things over the next month. Others are approaching the beginnings of panic mode, realizing that there are only so many hours in day. And still others express surprise that Christmas is less than 3 weeks away. I fall into the latter group, with a heap of ‘bah humbug!’ added in for good measure. I am probably just tired, but with all the running around recently, I can’t even fathom decorating or buying stuff for gifts. I swear, there’s nothing like moving and subsequently having to put away every single item in your possession to make you really, really sick of stuff. Bah humbug, indeed.

So I’m listening to a holiday playlist while I work in the hopes of turning my mood around and I’m actively trying to avoid scoffing at capitalist greed whenever I see/hear/read holiday ads. It’s part of why I didn’t participate in Black Friday or Small Business Saturday or BuyStuffSunday (I’m sure Sunday is called something) or Cyber Monday with Sweet Sheep. It all just felt too… contrived. Meaningless, and pushy, and not-the-point.

What do you do when you’re just not feeling the spirit?

 

 

Five Things Friday – Again

I don’t know if I’m going to keep writing these random list type posts on a weekly basis, but seeing as I have so much to say and no time lately in which to organize my thoughts, you’re getting them all at once, sporadically arranged. 🙂 And I began this post at 11:34 pm, so let’s see if we can publish while it’s still Friday, shall we?

1- I’ve acquired some gorgeous yarn lately. I’ve had my eye on Stray Cat Socks Etsy shop for some time now, but always talked msyelf out of placing an order due to shipping from New Zealand. However, I saw these gorgeous socks on a day when I really needed a pick-me-up, so I caved and ordered the same rainbow colorway (Are We There Yet) and another skein to keep it company on its long voyage (Monavale Rose). Could this packaging be ANY CUTER?!?!

2- I may have also picked up a skein of yarn from a Ravelry destash recently, too. Let’s ignore the fact that Rhinebeck (a.k.a. yarn mecca) is merely weeks away, ok? I couldn’t help myself! It’s a one-of-a-kind, mill end skein of of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Mediumweight in  blue-green speckled colorway that I instantly fell in love with. (Also, notice that strange reversed logo? Weird!) It looks like it might have been a precursor of one of their new colorways, A Speck of Autumn. It’s destined to be a Sockhead Hat, I think.

Five Things Friday - Again | Woolen Diversions

This was clearly made for me.

3- I had a rather hellish couple of weeks at work (deadlines, no time, etc.) but I managed to escape early this afternoon and stole a couple of hours of daytime(!) weekday(!) knitting at a little bay beach nearby. (My Rhinebeck Sweater ain’t gonna knit itself, amIright?!)

Not gonna lie: it was pretty glorious.

I have the hardest time relaxing, sometimes. I was there for maybe an hour and a half in between errands and appointments and I felt like I should’ve been doing something (anything!) else the entire time. Relaxing during daylight hours seemed criminal, somehow. Sad, right? I’m working on it.

4- I just shrink-wrapped 80 bars of sheep-shaped goat milk soap for a special order, and I feel like some kind of heat gun kung-fu master. You’ll have to take my word on this if you’ve never tried it, but shrink-wrapping stuff is weirdly satisfying.

So many sheep soaps!

5- And last but not least, I’m vending at the Fiber Twist & Bead Bash themed weekend of the Coventry Regional Farmer’s Market in Connecticut THIS SUNDAY, Sept. 27th, from 11am – 2pm. Come say hello! The Fiasco and I used to live down the street from it and went as often as we could, it’s a great market. I heard rumors that this might be its last year, which is super sad, but I’m honored to be able to vend there one last time.

And that’s all I got! Looks like I missed Friday by about 15 minutes… oh well. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About that Waist

If you remember from my Five Things Friday post, I was doing just a wee bit of agonizing over how to handle the waist decreases on my Grimm Green Stout sweater. The main issue was that I was knitting at a larger stitch count for the hips, wanted to decrease a few inches for the waist, and then increase back out a smaller amount than I had decreased for the bust. In simple stockinette this would be fine, but the stitch pattern is an alternating rib/cable pattern  with strong vertical lines, so if I didn’t return to the same stitch count for the bust, the pattern would be thrown off for the rest of the sweater.

THE HORROR!

But I’m happy to report that I finagled a solution that will look just fine. Observe!

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About That Waist | Woolen Diversions

Mmmmmmm, cable-y ribbing!

Each pattern repeat consists of 12 rows, 6 rows that read “cable column, rib column” and then 6 more that read “rib column, cable column” that alternate across the garment. (Make sense? Explaining this in words feels weird.) The pattern is written so that you decrease 4 stitches on Row 1 and Row 6 of the repeat, for a reduction of 1.6 inches in the finished fabric width-wise occurring over 2 inches of length. My stitch gauge is a little tighter than the pattern calls for and I wanted less fabric at the waist so I decreased 4 stitches on Rows 1, 5, and 9, and 2 stitches on row 11 for a total reduction of 2.6 inches over 2 inches of length. I had planned to decrease a full 16 stitches instead of 14, but I realized that I liked how the ribbing worked out at this stitch count.

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About That Waist | Woolen Diversions

Breaking the pattern, but making it work.

Now I need to knit for 2 inches straight before increasing back out for the bust. My plan is to keep the stitches in a *p1, k1, p1* pattern around the waist decrease markers as they are now, and then only increase 4 more stitches (2 more purl stitches around each marker) for the bust, adding back 0.75 inch of fabric. So in this version of the sweater, my stitch count will fluctuate from 244 stitches (for the 46″ pattern size) in the hips, down to 230 stitches in the waist, up to 234 stitches (which corresponds to the 44″ pattern size) in the bust.

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About That Waist | Woolen Diversions

Comparing to a store-bought sweater.

These measurements, once added to the 2.5″ that will result from the collar/buttonband, should give me a garment that allows for about 2″ of positive ease in the hips, 2.5″ in the waist, and 1″ in the bust. Should is the operative word there. The patterns is written for 5″ of ease, but I think my adjustments will be more flattering for my body shape. When I compare my knitting to a store-bought sweater of a similar style, the size looks good and the waist seems to land where I think it should, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will all work out in the end. And if anybody looks closely enough under my arms to notice the changes I’ve made in the pattern… well, I’ll just have to smack them for inappropriate personal space invasion anyway.

Squam art fair vendors

Come to Squam this Saturday!

I’m super excited that THIS SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19th from 7:30pm – 10pm Sweet Sheep will be vending at the Squam Art Fair in Holderness, NH. Please come and say hello! I’ve heard so much about Squam from other knitter’s blogs that it has obtained ‘magical crafty fairyland’ status in my mind, I can’t wait to see it for myself.

WIPWed #104: It’s Wednesday Again, Isn’t It

These weeks, man, I just can’t keep up! I’m doing my best to just embrace the lack of time I feel I have for creative things and just do the best I can. For a while there I was dreading the end of the summer but I’m now starting to look at my stash more closely and imagine all the warm, woolly things I’d like to knit and wear in the near future. Plus, the Season of Fall Festivals is nearly upon us, and who can be bummed about that? Speaking of festivals…

Rhinebeck Sweater – Grimm Green Stout:

WIPWed #104: It's Wednesday Again, Isn't It | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Twisted, colorway Grimm Green. Click for project page.

My Rhinebeck sweater is progressing at a steady clip. The fabric is lovely and squishy and I’m almost at the point where I need to think about waist decreases. I took the sweater camping with me over the long weekend (no photographic evidence as I was boycotting electronics) and it was the only thing I worked on while I was away! Of course I brought a sock project just in case, but I talked myself out of bringing a spindle as well, finally accepting that I would not need quite so much craft variety over such a short trip. I’m learning, slowly but surely.

Berrylicious Socks:

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BMFA Socks That Rock Lgithweight, colorway Berrylicious, Click for project page.

My “back up knitting” socks are progressing at a solid pace, as well. I’m not sure yet whether I will keep these for myself or reserve them as a possible Christmas gift for someone else (that time will be upon us before we know it). They’re simple socks, and I like them, but I don’t love them and somebody else might. Frankly, I’m just kind of impressed that I’ve become a nearly-monogamous knitter working on only two projects at once. We’ll see how long that lasts.

WIPWed #104

Rockin’ Sock Club 10th Anniversary Kit

As an added treat in the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin’ Sock Club, we received special 10th anniversary kits that consisted of great goodies, including a notions case, a tape measure, and a really beautiful project bag. The bag is made of high quality fabric with a nice thick liner and I adore the colors. It’s custom made by Queen Bee Creations and oh boy do they have some pretty, handmade things on their site. They don’t appear to do knitting bags in particular, but they have purses and messenger bags and travel bags in gorgeous patterns that I would love to own. Like this little polka-dot number or this leafy teal case. This large loop pouch looks to be the same size and shape as the bag we received in the club and it is plenty big for any knitting accessory project. I’m a little in love and am happy to have a whole new-to-me creative company to admire!

As for reading, I just finished up The Cider House Rules by John Irving. Man, can that guy write. That is probably not news to anybody, but this was only the second of his books I’ve ever read, and I’m now officially hooked. The book followed the lifeof a doctor who performs illegal abortions and runs an orphanage in 1940s Maine, and the life of one of the orphans (basically). It’s so much more than that, but it’s hard to sum up. Irving has skyrocketed his way straight up into my top 10 favorite authors list. I love the way he tells his stories over long time periods and builds an entire life for his characters. I love how creative his storytelling is, and how each book is entirely different in feel, locale, and topic from the rest. Normally I’m all about long series or authors who write in a particular style or setting so I know what I’m getting into with their books. It’s kind of exiting not to have any idea what the next book will be like, but to know that I’ll probably love it, whatever it is about or however he chooses to write it. Do you have a favorite Irving book?

That about covers what I’ve been up to this week! Linking up with Yarnalong.

WIPWed #102: Still Settling Back In

The rest of the conference I was attending last week was great, I even got to briefly visit the National Aquarium in Baltimore (highly recommend!). However, I did arrive home slightly worse for the wear. I’ve had some low-level cold symptoms since deplaning (love that word) and I also injured my foot pretty badly with all the walking around I did at the conference. The top of the arch of my foot has been painful and swollen for well over a week, but the swelling has been going down thanks to lots of icing and resting. I’ve had a  slower settling-back-into-things than I would have liked, but sometimes, you just have to take a break! Taking it easy has lead to a bit more knitting, so that’s good.

Black Tea:

WIPWed #102: Settling In | Woolen Diversions

Plucky Knitter Bello fingering held double. Click for project page.

My Black Tea hat looks nearly the same as last week because I had missed a cable crossing several rows back and spent too much time attempting to fix it by laddering down until I just gave in and frogged back a repeat. One does not always have the patience for tricky fixes!

Berrylicious Socks:

WIPWed #102: Settling Back In | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight, colorway Berrylicious. Click for project page.

These socks also tried my patience this week. I attempted Smokestack Socks and Hermione’s Everyday Socks to no avail – the yarn was just too variegated to look good in either pattern. I finally settled on a simple repeat of alternating knit rounds with rounds of *k3, p1*. Slightly more fun than plain ribbing, but not distracted at all by the colorway pooling and striping. They make for good meeting socks, at any rate.

Grimm Green Stout:

WIPWed #102: Still Settling In | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Twisted, colorway Grimm Green. No project page just yet.

Now that I’m back home, I’ve finally had a chance to swatch for what I’m hoping will be my Rhinebeck sweater (but I wouldn’t put money on it or anything, time is flying by). This is a swatch for Chocolate Stout by Thea Coleman. It’s going to be a really fabulous, texture grandpa cardi if I can get the sizing just right. The pattern is simple but fun and I’m completely in love with the colorway!

Sweet Sheep Soaps:

I managed to make a couple of new soaps to add to the shop: Coconut Lime whipped goat milk & aloe layered soap, as well as Chipotle Caramel sheep-shaped goat milk soap. Options in the shop are running kind of low as I’m waiting on some supplies to arrive, but once they do I’ll be busy re-stocking lots of different lotion bar scents and soaps, so hang tight!

And as for reading…

I finished the John Irving book I was reading last week and have since downloaded two more to my kindle: Son of an Elephant and Cider House Rules. First, though, I took a quick detour into the young adult version of Discworld with A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett. I love this little sub-series about Tiffany Aching, a pint-sized witch with lots of little blue friends in the form of the Nac Mac Feegle. I’m currently reading Wintersmith, the third book in the series, and will probably finish off the series with I Shall Wear Midnight before returning to the John Irving books.

How have you all been? I’m looking forward to catching up on all the blogging I missed! Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.