Saturday, 28 April 2012

Oh Deer

Well, things are still crazy around here; I've been writing 2000+ word essays every weekend in an attempt to finish my qualifications upgrading, which hasn't left me much time for anything else. However, last weekend I had a stroke of inspiration and started designing some new stitch markers in my beautiful idea journal.

I went through several versions of the design and lists of parts needed, but didn't have time to put them into action. Then yesterday on the way to work I was unfortunate enough to hit a deer on one of our back country roads. All three of us (me, the deer, and the car) suffered damages, and though it was certainly not how I wanted to start my Friday it did give me some more time to work on my plans. By the end of the night I had prototypes made up, and was finally able to post them in the shop today.

I've loved Tolkien's work since I was a small child; The Hobbit was the first book my Dad and I read together. My favourite characters in the Lord of the Rings trilogy were Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, and thoughts of them were what started the idea for these stitch markers. I wanted to capture the rich emerald green of Goldberry's dress and the golden curls of her hair, as well as the earthiness but otherwordliness of Tom. From there I thought of Galadriel and Arwen, ethereal, beautiful, and delicate and they seemed naturals to represent through beadwork. Lastly I made a set to symbolize Legolas, one of my favourite characters in the film adaptation.

It feels good to have some fresh ideas up in the shop, I have some larger sewing designs I've been working on but progress has been stalled due to the course work which has been frustrating. What I love about the stitch markers is that they are small and quick to make, and I can spend time with the hubby while working on them (he paints fishing lures at the dining table while I'm making my markers). In fact, I also designed a cheeky set of stitch markers with that in mind.

Also this week I finally found the perfect craft fair to start vending live at. The Hazelwood Centre Fall Harvest Craft Fair takes place Sunday, September 9th and is a manageable 4 hour, 1 day event in a beautiful setting. It draws a good amount of traffic, but won't be overly busy, which is perfect. I've been drafting lists of what I'll bring (I need the right balance between the ability to produce the items in bulk in a reasonable amount of time with good value added, and to choose things that will be easily portable). I'll be bringing stitch markers, sari scarves, and a new item which is silk flower pins.

Hopefully in another month, I will be able to finish up my new designs, and blog the progress. Happy knitting!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

All Quiet on the Homefront

Well, it's been awhile since I last wrote; I've been busy with my history courses, and hubby was in the hospital for a week. All seems to be going well now, so hopefully I'll get caught up on some of the work I've missed.

I've been doing some more spinning; I abandoned my cheap-o spindle which didn't spin very long, was not heavy enough, lacked a notch, and had too short a shaft. I ordered a Golding Tsunami and I love it. I don't have any of the issues I had with the junk spindle. Right now I'm spinning through some Masham for an Expand Your Horizons spin-along. I spun up about 100g and am in the midst of plying; the fibre is very hairy so I don't think I'd work with it again but it drafted beautifully. I'm working on putting some more overspin in my singles to avoid the un-spinning that was happening before. I also had to go back to park and draft to deal with the slippery fibre, but it wasn't so bad.
To help me along I purchased some e-books and downloaded the Kobo e-reader; I bought the Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook, the Knitter's Book of Wool, and Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece. I like the e-reader so far (especially the search option) but some some things tricky - like finding specific pages by page number as they're numbered in sections, not by the whole book. I also purchased Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning in a paper copy and have been working my way through it. Next on the spindle after I ply off the Masham will be some Polwarth as I have not tried that fibre yet.

I've also purchased a ridiculous amount of fibre of varying types; I appear to have a new addiction.  I ordered more BFL blends and Falkland as well as some more exotic breeds like Black Welsh Mountain, Black Jacob, Grey Jacob, and some batts (I got a sample with my Golding and loved it).
Here are the etsy shops I've been frequenting:

Unwind Yarn Company
Inglenook Fibers
Edgewood Garden Studio
Hilltop Cloud

On the homefront the hubby and I are on a new food regime to help alleviate the health issues that put him in the hospital, and I've been feeling much better myself and have lost some weight. We've been looking for a new (larger) home, but the real estate market here is tight. We watched Off the Grid
together last night (available at and I just picked up  Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich. It's really making me want to find a place where we can live simply and inexpensively, and pursue the things we truly enjoy, rather than working just to pay for a house. I bought the book at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN  where we went for a daytrip yesterday. I grabbed a catalogue of their course offerings and look forward to trying something new this summer. While we were there I also found a great little guide to making custom home-made mukluks adn will be trying that out this summer.

Knitting-wise I'm still slogging through the Lady Kina sweater and the Milk Run Shawl, but I'm getting closer to the end. I'll be casting on a new sweater soon for the spring term of the HPKCHC. I'd also like to find some time to sew; I bought some new fabric for knitting project bags and some welding hats for the hubby, and have some items I'd like to add to the Etsy shop.

And lastly, I have to gush about the new product I tried this month; I purchased Skin's Shangri-La from my local Lush store and can't say enough about it. My skin has not been liking this change in seasons and the cream is doing wonders for my face. I also found out that I can order my favourite sunscreen from the British Lush and have it shipped (I was so sad when it was discontinued here!) Apparently was used to be called Ultralight here is called British Nanny there, so I will be having some sent my way! (I had ordered some Ladival from Germany which I haven't tried yet, trying to find something to replace my Ultralight with).

I'll update soon with pics of the roving, spindle, and WIP's. Back to the homework for now.