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Meeting the deadline, new projects and motivation

Hooray and hello again!  I finally finished up my next knit for PieceWork last night.  Good thing considering it is due at the office on Monday.  I must admit that I love living right down the road from them so that I can squeeze every drop of time possible out of the deadline.  It has been an intense couple of weeks of knitting to be sure to get it done.  Now all I have to do is finish up the written portion which for me is the hardest part of the process.  workingYes, that’s me, pile of knitting in my lap and the original Star Trek keeping me company.  I grew up on them and it gives me something familiar to listen to that isn’t distracting while I work.  I tried one day to watch The Red Violin a foreign film that I love but almost ruined the piece because I wasn’t paying proper attention!

So, now what?  I’ve finished my deadline, what do I have to work on now?  Well the next project is back in the studio.  I have a concept that I want to try weaving.  To be able to do that I needed more heddles for Susan, and yes I do name my looms when it feels right.  Susan is the loom I was recently gifted with and named for her previous owner.  heddles700 new heddles to go onto her harnesses this next week.  You need a lot of them when you plan to weave at 40 threads per inch.

Another project that will be coming was influenced by a generous friend.  Jenny works at The Loopy Ewe here in the Fort and loves to get me into all sorts of crafting trouble.  On her Instagram page she posted a picture of project bags and coordinating yarns because we all need more project bags and if they match your project even better right?  Well one of the yarns was a fabulous red that I just had to see….and guess what?  It had sold out!  So much for a little bit of indulgence.  So instead Jenny says, pick out fabric and I’ll make you a new bag.  Silly me carries it around the store and finds yarn to match. project bagI couldn’t help myself and at some point this summer there will be a new crescent shawl pattern available.  The yarn by the way is Juliespins.

I’ve talked before here about self-care and one of the things that I do is go to the gym five days a week.  Three of these are in a structured class with a trainer and I have been a part of it for the last 5+ years.  I love this class and work hard in it but this week I heard a lot of ” I can’t” from some of the other people.  That along with questions asked by coach in archery practice got me to thinking.  The mind is amazing and if you convince yourself that you can’t do something it will not happen.  Regardless of everything else around you.  You could have all of the physical tools and instructions or teachers right there at hand but the instant you say “I can’t” you’re done for.  I have done things the last five years that I never would have thought possible or necessary to do if you would have asked the person I was all those years ago.  I know I can do this, create this craft life that I see and want for myself, so I will 🙂

 

 

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Other hobbies, a pattern release and a renewed space

Back on December 17th after the catch/no catch game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots I had thought that today I would be hosting a Patriots fan for the rematch game.  Well the Jacksonville Jaguars changed that last week and I don’t quite know who to cheer for in the AFC championship game today.  One thing I love beyond craft is sports.  The Pats fan and I have been duking it out for AFC supremacy for the last 12 years and as a Red Sox fan I’m very glad he follows the Mets and not the Yankees!!

As for current projects I am knitting away on my next PieceWork project that is due to Interweave in a few short weeks.  I stopped in to Barnes and Noble to pick up a current issue and as always took a photo.

IMG_3453As I was doing so a woman behind me commented saying that they were beautiful and that they would take a very long time to make…..I don’t think that my responses of thank you and they took a month registered with her that I was the designer 😉

The studio is feeling more and more like a proper workspace.  This last week I moved in the looms and supplies.

IMG_3461I would still like to get an ott lite lamp to go in the space and have decided to find a small bean bag chair or cushion to go on the floor and don’t worry it can easily be converted back to a guest room when Daddy visits.  By the window you can see my sign!  It was commissioned for my birthday five years ago from a woodworker that used the natural colors of different types on wood to create the design.  I love it and am very pleased that it has a home.

This morning I hope the snowfall finds you snuggled in comfy clothes and drinking something warm.  We’ll still watch the football games today even though I’m not invested in the outcome, take care of homework and work on craft 🙂

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Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2018!! 🙂  Wait? ummm….you’re telling me that was last week?  Already a week down in January!  Guess I need to get moving!

I love the holidays but man can they make time fly by in an instant.  We hosted Eve, had a quiet Day that included a Steelers win and saw the new Star Wars film that week.  New Year’s Eve was quiet and New Year’s Day full of tradition with the Rose Parade, ordering Chinese and lots of football.

Now on to business things!  Last week the latest issue of PieceWork hit the newsstands and I have a pair of socks in it.  As for projects I’m working on I finished up a gift that I’ll share more about later and have two patterns that are knitted but need writing for Yarn Crush’s February box!

IMG_3397Shhhh!!  A swatching sneak peek on one of my Christmas presents 🙂  If you’ve ever been curious about yarn subscription boxes I highly recommend their product.  They offer both a yarn box and a sock box.  A change this year is that the yarn boxes are getting more patterns!  They are now including 2 crochet and 2 knitting patterns in each box so that you have more options for the skein that arrives.  There’s still time to sign up for January.  Once I have those patterns written it will be on to another item for PieceWork, this one is for the Sept/Oct issue and yes again it uses small needles!IMG_3395 (2)Treenway Silks has again provided the yarn for this project and she carries amazing products.

As for other projects….with this new year I decided that I wanted a more dedicated space for craft.  That, along with the generous gift of two more looms I have decided to morph our extra room into a weaving studio.  This little room really hasn’t had a true purpose since the girls outgrew a need for a playroom.  It’s been many things over the last few years but never had a good feel to it.  It will still be an occasional guest room when Papa visits but has started it’s transformation.

I’m already amazed at what a simple coat of paint has done to the feel of this room!  Just walking by it now makes me clap my hands like a little kid and feel happy.  Hopefully in the next two weeks I can get the remaining items out and the looms moved in.

2018…..my challenge for you this year?  Follow your gut to find what makes you happy and do it. 🙂

 

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An anniversary and an announcement

Well how to begin this blog post….

We’ve reached the one year mark.  One year ago this month my husband passed and life changed, what some of you may not know is that the exact day was also my birthday.  While my 41st was difficult, facing events and a decision I never thought I would have to make my 42nd was peaceful.  One thing that I found hard to do at the time was to not be upset with myself for the year that has passed.  Rather than looking back at the time spent and thinking that I needed to be farther along this path I told myself to focus on the positive.  So how did I spend the year?  I wrote two patterns for Yarn Crush, self published three of my own to Ravelry, and had two published with PieceWork, one of which was featured on the cover.  I took a chance with the French Nest Open Air Market and fell in love with my looms and weaving again.  What was most important that all three of did this year was to heal.  To be able to take the time to learn what our new normal is and I’m glad that we took it.  Death stops life for only one person, and while we remember, smile and pay tribute as we all see fit, life does change and move on.

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Last week before Thanksgiving if you follow me on Facebook I promised you a happy announcement this week. I am beyond thrilled and happy to tell you that my woven scarves are now on display for sale at the Blue Moose Art Gallery and Gifts here in Fort Collins!

blue moose displayblue moose exterior

I took in some of my work in October to have it juried and hopefully accepted and it has been. Deb and Cathy are the owners there and have a beautiful shop inside with a great variety of art available. They also host classes taught by the different artists and have a featured artist every month. At these events you can go in and talk to them to learn about their work. For December and this time of gift giving they are having a featured artist every day! I will be there Thursday December 7th from 10-4 with my little traveling loom demonstrating how it works and talking about some of the techniques that I’ve come up with.
One of the biggest lessons I’m trying to learn is patience. Just like one of my pieces this handcrafted life takes time and effort, it can’t be rushed, but this? This is a step, a tremendous step, and step after step it will all come together 🙂

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New pattern alert!

Here I am again as promised with a new pattern!  This one came about in an unusual way.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This is the Adventure Neckerchief now listed on Ravelry.  The yarn for this is Jaggeryarn’s newest creation, Kokadjo and getting the yarn came about in a unique way.

Normally I’m not one for making comments on things on social media but this just happened to be a time that I did.  I follow Jaggeryarn on Facebook as I’ve been a big fan of the Jaggerspun Zephyr for quite some time now.  The post talked about a new fingering weight yarn that is 90% superwash merino and 10% silk.  My comment was simple, saying that I would have to find some in my area and try it.  At the time I had recently been in contact with the editor of PieceWork and we had talked about the yarn I would need for an upcoming project…(spoiler alert!  Watch for PieceWork Jan/Feb 2018!) which of course I had decided on Jaggerspun Zephyr.  Lindsey of Jaggeryarn saw my comment, saw my PieceWork request and contacted me asking what color I would like to try of the Kokadjo since she was sending me yarn anyway.  Happy day!  Free yarn?  You bet!  The Kokadjo is a delight to work with and I personally would recommend it for season transitional garments because even though it is 90% superwash merino and 10% silk it has a feel similar to cotton.

The pattern itself is worked from tip to tip on size 4 needles and measures 14″ wide at the point and 70″ long.  Small you might say but of the items I’ve made and wear regularly the ones that wrap around my neck get the most comments.  You increase during the first half and decrease during the second half making it suitable for yarns that you may have a limited amount of.  To do this weigh your yarn at the beginning of the project, work the increase side until you are close to half of the weight you started with, then work the decrease side.  I plan for this pattern to be the first of many for the Orphans…you know those single lonely skeins you find at the shop that you just can’t leave without yet you don’t know what you can do with the limited yardage?  Here you go!

As for the name….sometimes naming a pattern is the hardest part!  Something catchy, original, suits the piece?  This one comes from The Hobbit.  Bilbo is running after the Dwarven company and someone asks where he’s going…”I’m going on an adventure!”  is his reply, and isn’t that what life is supposed to be?  An adventure, just like this craft journey that I have embarked upon  🙂

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Not always craft….

I’ve been trying to keep this blog singularly devoted to craft.  What I’m making, publications that are coming out with my patterns in them, events that I’m going to be at and so on.  Today is different, today I want to talk about life and finding happiness in the present and the journey.

If you’ve followed this blog or know me in person you know that I have two daughters, Amanda and Serra.  Music is a big portion of our lives, be it songs on the radio in the car or the fact that both girls participate in their school band programs just as I did.  Marching band takes over in August and dominates the calendar through the State Championships at the end of October.

calendar

This past weekend was just that, Colorado State Marching Band Championships.  The start to the weekend was seeing Amanda off Friday evening as the band travels together.  Serra and I walk in to the auditorium and find Amanda and her buddy friend in tears as they had just held the Senior recognition Ceremony.  There are times that I don’t agree with their director but one thing he does understand with these kids and our family personally from last November is this: Band is family.

The band traveled together that night and Serra and I got up early Saturday morning to head to Colorado Springs.  Serra is such a good sport about this kind of thing.  She has been brought along to so many band events and archery tournaments for her sister over the years.  She’s never complained and understood how important they all are to her sister.  Stars only know how much candy, French fries and hot chocolate she has consumed at these various events.  Proud of her for being my tag-a-long and cheering for her sister, even as embarrassing as it might be to be seen with me.

As for Amanda, we cheered through semis, their performance bringing me to tears, found her talking with her hands to everyone around her during the award presentation where they were first place.  Watched 12 more bands for the 4A semis where I cheered for my high school Fruita Monument and the local 4A Loveland, both of who made finals.  Watched again in finals with temperatures dropping, bundled in blankets and Serra falling asleep until the moment came.

Silver medals for Fossil, Silver for Loveland and 5th place for Fruita Monument.  After a long drive home and an exhausting 20 hour stretch I hugged a proud but heartbroken sophomore at 1am Sunday morning.  Later, after a good 10 hours of sleep we talked about the weekend, sharing silly things that happened on each side.  Me, cheering with other parents.  An Arapahoe mom after semis turned back to me after Fossil’s performance and smiling said, “Well, we now know who you are cheering for.”  Amanda talking about freezing during retreat and trading gloves with a trombone player named Jordan from Legacy.  Commitment, teamwork, pride, heartbreak, joy…so many emotions packed into such a short amount of time that create a person.

state tNow if you’ve stuck with me you’re thinking, where is she going with all of this?  It’s simple, some days I want the future to be here NOW.  For the business to take off, to be productive, to feel like I’m doing something to be successful.  Then I have a weekend like this with my girls and I realize I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, right here, right now.  It’s not the destination that defines you in the end, it’s the journey you take to get there.

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A pattern, a market and a beginning…

Good morning!  It is a quiet Sunday morning here as I’m typing this.  Girls are getting as much recovery from the past few weeks and hopefully a jump start on the two weeks to come.  August through October is always full with marching season and the beginning of archery season.  So here is a bit of a time out from the chaos to catch up online here with you.

In keeping with my goals to publish at least one pattern per month last week I posted the Dayflower Wrap to Ravelry.

It takes approximately 1000 yards of light fingerweight yarn.  I used Prism from  Lambspun of Colorado.  It is handdyed there in the shop and is 50% merino and 50% silk.  I have a lot of it from attending the biannual sales over the years.  Have to decide which pattern that I’ve already knitted to write up next…

I spent one Saturday in September as a vendor at the French Nest Open Air Market and tried again yesterday.  September was not a good event, but also as I was reminded by some wonderful support staff that work behind the scenes that the weather was a big factor.  Cold rain is never a good way to start or be at an outdoor event.  So I crossed my fingers and hoped that yesterday would go better and it some ways it was.

 

Different style display and having a working loom there brought more people into the booth to check things out over the first two hours while we had wonderful sunshine and a light breeze.  At 11 however that changed.  The wind decided to visit the market and for the next two hours I stood holding the canopy frame so that it wouldn’t fly away.    After an especially large gust of wind at 1pm the vendors in our area and ourselves simply started packing up.  My dear Serra was an absolute trooper through it all.  She helped sit against a canopy pole lending her weight to hold it down and then carefully broke down and packed everything up while I kept the canopy from blowing away.  While the market did not go as I would have hoped people did like what they saw and wonderful friends Mary, Wendy and Lori of Cowgirl Yarn all stopped by.  As for the market itself, I’m not sure that it’s the right place for me.  I plan to use the winter months to do a lot of making and thinking about the types of events that are available and the best ways to get myself and my product out there.  In the end I do care very much about my business and in some ways possibly want it all right now.  Well that’s not how this works.  I have to follow my intuition, learn patience and work to find the best ways to make it work for me.

As for that business thing.  Something I’ve been thinking about for the last couple of years is writing a book.  I realize that this is quite a task and instead of doing anything concrete I’ve been letting it percolate in my brain a bit.  There’s a journal with notes in it, lists of topics that I want to include but nothing firm.  I changed that this last week.  It’s not much, an intro and a possible table of contents but it’s there.  I don’t really want to go into much detail but those that I have talked to about it love the idea.  So yet another project to work on or possibly several depending upon the size and shape that it takes.  Something I keep telling myself is that the business is going to take time.  I have learned many things from the time I spent doing wedding cakes, discussions this year and what I see for my future.  Patience is key, and it will get there one step at a time.

And since I’m sure you’re all curious about all of that time spent marching I was finally a good mom last week and took some photos rather than simply watching Amanda hit her spots and perform. 🙂

 

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