Friday, May 27, 2016

Happy First Day of Stash Dash

Stash Dash 2016 is upon us, and my spreadsheet and I are prepared.

Stash Dash is a summer finish-along hosted by Laura and Leslie of The Knit Girllls videocast.  (If you don't watch them, you're missing out.  They're a treat.)  Anyway, the idea is to finish as much as you can while Laura is on summer vacation. This year that's May 27 - August 21 (Happy First Day of Stash Dash!).   "Winning" means finishing up 3K, 5K, 7K, or if you're really bold, 10K, or 15K meters of yarn during the allotted timeframe.

Long time friends of the show will remember that I competed last year at the 3K level.  This year my aspirations are more ambitious, as I'm aiming for the 5K - 7K range.  

WIPs totally count, as well as new cast-ons, so those that have game have been stashing (haha) their nearly finished items in a corner to trot out this summer.

Take this beauty for instance:

My Hitchhiker has  been all done save a bit of tinking and a bind off for a couple of weeks now.   That's 454 meters right there.  Boom.

The rest of my strategy relies heavily on my Cosy Stripes and Circles to Squares afghans.  They'll come in at over 5K meters between the two of them.  The Cosy Stripes afghan is 70% done.  I've done the maths, and so long as I do at least three stripes a week I'm in good shape for this one.

This thing is gonna be humongous.

And the Circles to Squares afghan just needs seamed together and a border added.

Finishing these two bad boys (along with Knitting in Red) is one of my goals for 2016, so Stash Dash is the perfect motivation to get them done.

I also have some ankle socks to finish, an Order Mission to cast on (more on that later) and other bits and bobs to work on over the summer.

The Spreadsheet has all my current and planned projects listed.  If I finish EVERYTHING I'm looking at nearly 10K.  I don't expect to finish everything.  At least not by August.  But we'll see!

Friday, May 20, 2016

On Being a Maker, Part 1: Heritage

Earlier this year, Kate from the A Playful Day podcast asked the question, "What does making mean to YOU? " (Here's a link to the specific episode where she posed the question.  It's worth a listen.)

I've been rock-tumbling my answer ever since, and of course it's complicated.  I realized that being a maker means a lot of things to me.  I make because I grew up in a household of makers. I make because I value beauty, and I make because I feel called to do so.

So, here's the first in what will be a three part series on my making journey.

Making is Heritage.

I grew up in a family of makers.  Both of my parents were artists and creators - my mother sewed and painted, my father was a photographer, a farmer, and a horticulturist.   I grew up in a house with a well stocked pantry, full of delights such as my grandmother's famous bread and butter pickles.  We made things.  We made for practicality, for frugality, for joy, for art, and for beauty.  The best things were made for all of these reasons.

My sisters and I all learned the love of crafting and making at an early age.  Lucy was a seamstress, and loved to try her hands at any other craft that caught her fancy.  Abby sews and takes gorgeous photographs.  When she was in high school she took a pottery class and made incredible things.

We were pretty broke (we were very broke.  We owned a family farm in the seventies.  It was dire.) so we didn't have a lot of the toys and things that the "other kids" had.  When I was about six or seven, Abby and Lucy made this incredibly elaborate Barbie doll house out of cardboard boxes, wallpaper samples, and scrap lumber.  They sewed my dolls intricate and adorable outfits (this was during the period that Abby taught herself how to sew with Mom's Bernina.  That adventure was not without incident).   I ended up with the best, most incredible set up for my dolls,  Being the baby was not without its advantages.

We make, it's what we do.

My parents and grandparents are no longer living -- but when I look around my home, evidence of their making is everywhere.

My mother toll painted the bucket on the right sometime in the 1970s.  My father took both of the photographs in the frame to the left.  Neither are particularly special in and of themselves... except they absolutely are.  That's my mom and my grandma caught in everyday, domestic tasks.  Making a household.  Years and miles apart from each other, but in the exact same pose.

This is the rocking chair I sit in while I'm knitting and back-seat driving Carl's video games.  It was built by my paternal great-grandfather.

I am lucky enough to own several pieces of Abby's pottery.  She made these in the 11th grade, y'all. When she was sixteen.

Are you starting to see what I mean?  I didn't even have to go hunting for any of these things -- they are just a part of my daily life.  (Well, I did have to grab the pitcher and plate out of my china cabinet... but that hardly counts.)

I can look around my living room and count seven or eight things that were made by my family, and several more that were made by me.

Making is heritage - and it's a heritage that I am proud to have passed on to my children.   Rhiannon and Morgan are both knitters, and both artists.  Morgan is also a musician (which is a kind of making that I know naught of, but she gets that from her father.)   Rowan has started baking.  His pretzels are a thing of beauty and wonderment.

Morgan is not amused by my picture taking shenanigans.  She's just trying to cast on here, okay?

So, in summary:  I make because I was taught that's what you do.  I make to honor my family, and to teach my children about making.

At least, that's part of my answer.

Friday, May 13, 2016

FO: Pink Monkeys

So, it turns out my "April Socks" were actually my March socks of 2015.   I do what I want, Thor.  My party, my rules, etc. etc.

I cast these on last year during my annual early March frenzy of startosis.  (The natural and inevitable consequence of February is for Finishing... March is for Casting on a Whole Whack of Stuff.  Happens every year.)

I worked on them off and on last Spring, but for some reason they never really took hold.  Not even when I decided to horn in on Notre Dame Jen's #operationclearthesockneedles last summer.

Monkeys, bottom center
This was taken in July of 2015. Mind you, all of the other socks in this picture have long since been finished or frogged.  But those dang cheeky monkeys just sat there.

But since I declared #sockwatch16 for this year, I couldn't let the advantage of a half completed sock go, now could I?

Once I decided to work on them with any kind of focus or intent, they flew off the needles.  Funny how that goes, isn't it?

I knit the toe and heel as written -- which in retrospect I regret.  If I do this pattern again (and I might just, or maybe try a pair of Purlless Monkeys), I'll do my standard heel and toe.

But overall, we are pleased.  (Heck, I'm pleased they're off the needles finally....the fact that they're pretty darned cute is just bonus.)

These socks are PANK!

Project Notes

Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A
Yarn:  Knit Picks Stroll, "Rouge" colorway
Total Yardage: 319 yards
Needles:  US 1.5 (2.5mm) 5in" Knitter's Pride DPNs
Started:  March 2, 2015
Completed:  April 26, 2016
Ravelry Project Page: here

#sockwatch16: 10/16 socks complete.

Friday, May 06, 2016

No, it is too much. Let me sum up.

April has just flown by.  Do you hear that WHOOSHING noise?  That was April.  Happily, I caught a lot of it on film (er, metaphorical film.  I use my cell phone.  But you know what I mean.)

So settle in and buckle up.  Here's a picture heavy, lightning tour of the month of April here at chez woolly.

Stitches South

Right after we last spoke, we loaded up the car with a swatch of knitters and headed up the road to Stitches South.  Since they moved Stitches to Nashville, it's only a 45 minute drive from my house. Atlanta would have been doable (though I never actually did it...) but Nashville is just right there, you know?

Anyway, we were Stitches bound, stopping mid-way between the Opryland Hotel and my place for breakfast and to collect our Jess.

A Swatch of Knitters

Assembled, fed, and caffeinated, we continued our journey.   While there we spent some money (some of us spent a lot of money...) and met up with some dear friends from out of town.

Some of these knitters live in the internet.

I bought some yarns...

Don't give me that look, my goals specifically mentioned Fiber Events as an exception.

...and the best wine glass.

That says "three sheeps to the wind"

Business Trip to Melbourne, FL

The next week saw us starting the process of cleaning for Seder, and the week after that was for a business trip.   I spent the better part of the week in Melbourne, Florida.  I was there to facilitate two leadership workshops on inclusion and empowerment.   

Among other reasons....
I may or may not have also walked on the beach, eaten excellent food, had some wine, and, oh yes, I did some knitting.

Something about knitting a Hitchhiker as travel knitting appeals to my sense of the absurd.

Passover 2016

And after that?  It was time for Seder.
Seder Prep Selfies

One of the best things about Seder is the day we spend preparing the meal.  This year the kids were more involved than ever and that just makes my heart sing.  Even little Phoebe got in on the act, with a butter knife and some apples.

That's Morgan, Iris, Phoebe, and Jess making the Charoset

Dinner was lovely, and the remodeled living room served to make things more comfortable rather than less (I'd had some concerns, but all was right in the end).  We fit 30 at table comfortably and with room to breathe.  Barely.  

There's another table out of frame to the right.

Since Seder I've been quietly working on finishing up some old projects, and getting some new things cast on.   I'll tell you more about that next week, as surely this has gone on long enough.

But that's April, more or less in a nutshell.

Oh!  And one more thing...

The iris started to bloom.