Monthly Archives: January 2017

SSK KAL Plans

Silly me. I started & finished a KAL project a day too early. Duh!!!! The KAL started January 15th and will run until July. I knitted a hat on the 14th. I’ll consider it practice. And it will still go to charity. 

Boun’s hat pattern by Ann Budd


What I did right. I did try to finished as many old projects as possible. Otherwise, they won’t be touched until after July. 

Basic afterthought heel, gifted unknown sock yarn


I didn’t finish any handspun. No regrets. I just wasn’t ready. Deadlines, even arbitrary ones, are enough to push a decision. 

It’s only January but I already feel a bit too rushed and already behind. Time for some strategy and deep breathing. 

Silly. It’s all self imposed pressure. Not a lot at stake, except missed opportunities for door prizes. Even so, it’s great motivation to use up stash. 

Handspun (focus on vendor fibers)
Blue-purple-turquoise lace weight 700 yards

✔✔ Done. Red DK weight 750 yards for Robin shawl by Leethal Knits. Already on the second swish. 

Robin shawl by Leethal Knits in handspun

❌2 Guys BFL in Royal (spinning now) fingers cross it will be 350-400 yards. 

❌Gale’s Arts BFL in Iris (spinning soon) Still in a quandary about how to spin this one. 

Gale’s Arts BFL in natural

Gale’s Arts Polwarth in natural

Gale’s Arts Polwarth/silk in natural

Vendor Yarns:

2 Guys standard fingering in Salt on the Rim

✔Gale’s Arts Extreme sock blank in Crossing Paths by Ann Budd. Yuk. switched to a simple plain pattern. 

Wrong pattern for this yarn

✔Gale’s Arts sock yarn that I hand dyed in Gale’s workshop, in Crossing Paths by Ann Budd. Yeah! Loving this. 

Right pattern for this yarn

Gale’s Arts gradients

Gale’s Arts sock yarn in natural

Gynx Yarns Strong sock in Confetti & champagne

Knitty and Color hardcore sock in 1,000 of Oceans

Knitty and Color hardcore sock in Blueberries

Marigoldjen sock yarn in Street Graffiti

Miss Babs Yet lace in Franklin

Miss Babs Yowza in Baids Whale

Miss Babs BFL fingering in natural

Stranded Dyeworks Oasis in Magpie

Charity Hats:

25 weeks until the retreat means I should easily get 25-30 hats finished. Both Ann Budd and Lee Meredith have lots of hat designs to knit. 

Boun’s hat by Ann Budd is my current favorite hat. I could easily knit several a week.  


Patterns:

This could change on a whim. 

Right now there are lots of hats and socks in my Ravelry Queue from the two designers. Better get a pair of socks on the needles.

But first up is Robin shawl by Lee Meredith. I’ve wanted to knit this one for several years. I’m taking a chance using my first real handspun, the purple-navy-turquoise with Miss Babs lace in Franklin and the stripes in Huckleberry Yarn lace. 

And in 24 hours, I’ve already changed my mind. After winding the purple-navy-turquoise into center pull balls, I decided it’s too light, thin and not enough yardage. 

Instead, Robin will be a longer term project. I’m spinning the 2 Guys BFL in Royal now.

Guys Yarn, BFL Royals top & single in bobbin

2 Guys Yarn, BFL Royals 3 ply

That will be the main color. Gale’s Arts BFL in Iris will be the two contrast colors. I’ll comb the green and gray together for the second contrast color. Fingers crossed for enough yardage. 

Nope. 

Scratched the whole idea. Not enough yardage (264) in the 2 Guys Royal. I might try to find another fiber to handspin for a new main color. Right now, I am too scared to tackle the Gales Arts Iris. 

Gale’s Arts BFL Iris, separating the green & gray.

In the meantime, I am knitting Robin with the red handspun. Contrast color was a challenge. And also decided to modify the pattern. Switching the contrast and main colors in section 2. 

Left 1st swatch, right 2nd swatch

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Winter Sown

Mad fury internet research after a friend posted a weird picture of a gallon milk container with ‘Swiss chard & Cilantro’ written on the side. It looked strange. 

But her comment got me hooked. Sow the seeds, and basically ‘set it/forget it.’ Leave them exposed a bit with the rain/snow/sun. But protected from the wind and predators until early spring when the seedlings are ready to transplant into their permanent spots. 

She sent me to Winter Sown plus searching on ‘winter sowing zone 7.’ Love this so much…especially when my last attempt at fall planting failed so miserably. I wanted a simple low maintenance veggie/annual garden. 

This is works for northern zones as well as my area in zone 7.

Now my problem is not enough milk jugs. So am scrabbling to gather whatever will possibly work. 


Seeds have been ordered and received from Southern Exposure. Found them through a Mother Jones review post on seed companies.  I have no personal experience with them or their seeds. 

Fall planting & frost tolerant plants are the first seeds to sow, Swiss chard and kale. I’ll also sow the milkweed seeds send from my sister-in-law. (These seeds need a winter to germinate. Right now they are tucked in my freezer since they are from Minnesota.) They will be planted up by the house next to the future Thai basil. All for the bumble bees and monarch butterflies. 

Oops, got too excited and sowed the new seeds first. Will do Swiss chard, milk weed and kale tomorrow. Radishes, beets, parsley, arugula, spinach, and lettuces when in Friday. 


I’ll sow more radishes & lettuces in a week. Actually, I sowed milkweed, arugula, lettuce & radish. 

The last batch will be a few okra and hopefully a third batch of radishes. 

Ok…am realizing I’m being over enthusiastic about planting area. But as a gardener, I am always optimistic. 

But I know better than to start tomatoes or zucchini or melons. I just can’t hide any of those things in the front yard. The HOA might not like the milkweed or okra. I happen to think they are beautiful plants/flowers. 

I do need to get some coleus in the spring.  The flashy color in front hides a lot. 

How to: 

Clear or translucent plastic disposable containers. I’m using old accumulated aluminum trays and a row cover over the top. 

Drill or cut drainage hole in the bottom and top.  I used a wood burning tool for the holes and cutting the milk jugs. I saw a video to makes holes by heating a long nail (held with pliers) over a candle. 

2 options cutting the milk jug:

  1. Cut all the way around about 4-5″ from the bottom. You’ll ‘telescope’ the top over the bottom after sowing seeds. 
  2. Cut around about 4-5″ from the bottom, except keeping the top attached below the jug handle. You’ll need duct tape to close milk jug after sowing seeds. 

Label each container (top and bottom) with something weather proof. Or label your seeds with stakes. 

I cut up a tyvec bag, duct tape and a sharpie for labels. 

Labeled incorrectly (switched at birth)


Well-drained soil is damp. I mixed potting soil, perlite with water in a big bucket. 

2-3″ of soil, sow seeds, sprinkle more soil over the seeds and pat gently. 

I sprinkled a small amount of snail/slug bait. 

Set outside in indirect sun or sunny spot. 

No extra watering needed. Only winter rain & snow. 

On warm days in late winter/early spring, open the tops during the day to prevent overheating.  Cover again if danger of frost. 

Plant in the garden after last frost. 

I will keep you updated on how this works for me. 

Update:

So far so good. Radishes, arugula, beets, lettuces are up. 

Radishes, 10 days old

The best information:

Bachmans Winter Sowing Seeds
Juicing Gardener Youtube channel

Winter Wonderland 

How many times does it snow in the South? MAYBE once or twice a year. 

Fresh falling snow is an unicorn moment for macro photographers, including amateurs like me. 

This time, I was prepared. 

  • A platform with dark fleece left outside to be at ambient temperature. 
  • Down hooded coat, fingerless gloves & snow pants and snow boots to keep me warm
  • Heated beanbag (for me and the phone)
  • Small tripod and macro len on camera/phone. 

I goofed with the phone. It shutdown after 10 mins from the cold.  Recharging it gave me time to evaluate the first batch of pictures.  Out of focus and snowflake selection were issues, leaving only a few are saved. 

The white ones weren’t very interesting. You can’t see much detail. They look like they have frost on them. So next time, find more interesting snowflakes. 




And fortunately, it continued to come down and I had a second chance. 

Last bit of advise…Slip the phone next to the heated bean bag between shots, to keep it from shutting down and my hands warmer. 

And last last bit of advise…patience. 

Next time I might try velvet or velveteen for the background. 

I had so much fun! 





Technical information: 

  • Camera- iPhone 6 Plus default camera, olloclip 15x lens, cheap/useless mini-tripod. 
  • Background- Black fleece, glass pie plate
  • Editing app-Snapseed free version. All the snowflake pictures were edited for contrast, rotated & cropped. 

I JUSTED learned about winter sowing seeds. I’ll post about it next week. Right now I’m waiting for seeds ordered from Southern Exposure

Just in time for crazy weather change from the 20s to 60s.

January Crafting List

I listen to a lot of podcasts while working at crafting, mostly for background noise.  The Happiness Project with Gretchen Rubin is always a favorite and for the New Year, she suggests having a yearly theme, a word. 

I can’t decide. My word was going to be Home, since ours was neglected in the last two years. Or it will be Homemade/Handmade. Either way, I am adding to my crafting to-do list. 

Spinning:

  • ✔Wool n’ Spinning workshop Default spin
  • Wool n’ Spinning workshop Ratios
  • Purple Iris 
  • Fall leaves

Knitting:

  • ✔Finish the Ketterdam shawl.  Lost at yarn chicken by 12 yards in December. 
  • ✔Renamed that problem over-dyed yarn Evergreen (because it’s no longer a problem) and make a big winter cowl
  • Write pattern for Crisscross hat

    Crisscross hat in Evergreen overdye yarn

  • Doubleknit Ikat cowl 

    Ikat sketch needs a rework

  • Hats for charity
  • Continuous sock on needles
  • SSK KALs

A New Thing: 

  • A sketch a day
  • Calligraphy practicing the alphabet in a new to me font (www.surelysimple.com challenge). Brush is harder than I expected. 

Homemade/Handmade: 

  • Storage buckets for yarn & fiber
  • Winter crossbody bag
  • Finish project bags already cut (save for gift giving)
  • ✔Finish hand stitching for Alabama Chanin A-line dress
  • Printmaking

Home: Decluttering & Organizing 

  • ✔My closet & bathroom 
  • Garage & attic in warm weather
  • Taxes

Wishing These Magically Get Done:

  • Marbling more fabric for fun (make wire holders & order Orvis soap) 
  • Create practice Alabama Chanin jacket from Craftsy class. (Grey woven linen) Rethinking this whole project. 
  • Triptych painting in hall way (start sketches) finally settled on an general idea of a map
  • Paint dining room walls & ceiling Step 1: pick colors (Dover white & Sedate gray) 
  • Declutter and organize studio, attic and garage