KNIT : Little Knits

I think little knits are my favorite knits. They are generally quick and always cute. First up is a Louise Vest I completed quite a while back but don't think I ever shared. I used one skein of Quince and Co Lark in the Iceland colorway. 
(Ravelery project page here.)

The next is a Puerperium Cardigan. It's my second time (the first is here) knitting this free pattern from PEKAPEKA Design. This one is also knit up in Berroco Ultra Alpaca but this time the DK weight and in a nice neutral brown. I upped my needle size for good drape and hopefully a little more size.
(Ravelry project page here.)

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Finally, my current "purse WIP" is a vintage baby vest pattern that I'm knitting up with Luna Gey Celeste yarn. Like many vintage patterns, it was written to be knit flat in pieces then seamed, but I hate seaming and we have circular needles now, so I'm working it in the round. Since it's just 3x1 ribbing for a while and lightweight, it makes a great "on-the-go" project. I work on it when I'm out and about, socializing or waiting or watching TV.
(Ravelry project page here.)

PODCAST : Episode No. 7 : Hello Again

Sneak peek of a new pattern (check back on June 26th for a giveaway!)

Purse WIP : Vintage Baby Vest in Luna Grey Celeste

Quebracho dyed lace

Handspun bobbins full of BFL singles spun on my Ashford Kiwi

Giveaway for the Merrow Set pattern and yarn from Stitch Please. (To enter, leave a comment below. The winner will be drawn randomly on Wednesday, June 21st around noon. )

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED! Linda (lmecoll on Rav) is the winner!

One From the Draft Pile : Balance

I've been busy working behind the scenes, sprucing up my blog and site. Deep in the draft pile, I found this post from May of 2015. Specifics have changed but the same need for balance still and no doubt always will hold true. I'm glad that I have found more of healthy balance since first penning this post, but I know it's a constant effort and I always have more to learn. Since it's still relevant, I decided I'd go ahead and post it.

It's been quiet here on the blog. I honestly didn’t have a lot to say or rather, I had a hard time saying what I wanted to say. But a combination of recently turning thirty, having a lot my mind, and this post over at the Have Company Blog has inspired me to write and publish this post.

Over the last three to four years, I've been learning to value my time more. It hit particularly hard when my father passed away suddenly last year, that life can be very short and it’s so essential to make the best you can of it all. I still struggle and hit snags where I know I’m wasting time and energy on things that don’t matter, but I’m a lot closer to understanding and directing my energy into the right areas.

Many of you probably know that for many years I had a small Etsy shop. I didn't run it for the financial aspect of it, if anything, I under-priced my work because it kept the cycle going more smoothly—make something, sell it so I could buy more materials to make more things to sell so I can buy more materials, and on and on. I was honestly in it for my emotional well-being. Then, in 2012, I realized it wasn't filling that hole anymore. I closed up my shop and did some soul searching. I refocused my energy into the personal and health issues that I was facing at that time.

There is a general assumption that people who work from home just sit around in their PJs all day and “have the life.” While that is somewhat true (I can sit around in my PJs and so many times I’ve stopped to think about how lucky I am to not be stuck in a cubicle, and that I have such flexibility with my schedule, especially now when I’m needed here at home), it’s not always as ideal as it seems. One of the biggest challenges is that there are often no boundaries between work and play, work and family, work and well-being. Sometimes I envy people who punch a time clock, put in their 8 hours and go home, back to their personal lives. (Unfortunately, I know far too many people whose work follows them home from the office—company cell phone ringing at dinner time, putting in extra hours or wasting personal time on long, stressful commutes.)

Another eye-opening experience has been the fact that my 92-year-old Grandma has been in a hospice program since February. We are very determined to keep her here at home—even if that means she is our 24/7 focus. She has good days and bad days and we are so grateful for the professional and personal help we have been receiving. I’m grateful for my Mom and Uncle who seem to be relieving me of “Grandma Duty” more often so I can devote time to her and time to getting my work done: outside, in the garden, in my studio, over a dye pot, and in front the computer.

Though I try not to think about my twenties and all the "what-could-have-been's," there is one thing I do regret and hope to do differently in my thirties and that is to invest more in the people in my life, in relationships. I know my work is what helped me get through some very rough patches, but time and experience have taught me that people can, too.  Now that I've reopened a shop, I feel much more comfortable and confident in charging closer to what my time and energy is worth. I'm also learning to draw a more distinct line between work and play--scheduling work hours for myself, not replying to emails when I'm not "in the office" and therefore freeing up time and wholehearted attention for friends, family and even myself. 

For those of you who work from home, how do you balance it all?

KNIT : KnitCrate and Rethinking Color

If you've followed my blog or Instagram for even a brief time, you'll quickly learn I'm a lover of gray and neutral tones. The idea of subscription box yarn clubs seemed like something I wouldn't get much from--unless of course, they were sending me piles of gray yarn every month. But I'm about five months into KnitCrate and I have to say, it's changing my approach to color! I opened June's box and saw this Knits and Knots Tahoe yarn and suddenly wanted to knit a lightweight hap shawl (gray center with a lacy border in the above yarn) and wrap it around my shoulders on early summer evening walking the boardwalk. 

While I do (and no doubt always will) have a soft spot for subtle muted colors, part of why I shy away from *color* is because I'm afraid of it. I've always been impressed with quilters who mix and match bold prints so effortlessly, knitters who combine many contrasting colors and make it work. I take the no-brainer, easy route like I mentioned above--mainly gray with a single, subtle, safe pop of color. Eventually, with all of these beautiful yarns showing up in my mailbox each month, I get the feeling my world will become more colorful. So, if like me, you find yourself stuck in a color rut, try out a subscription like KnitCrate!

(I'm part of the KnitCrate affiliate program. If you end up purchasing anything after clicking my links, I'll get a small referral credit. To sweeten your deal, enjoy 20% off your first order with the code BUCK20.)

HOMESTEAD : Around Here Lately

Just some snippets from life around Buckaloo View in spring.

Sixth&Spring Review and Giveaway : 60 Quick Knitted Toys and Knit Noro Accessories 2

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This giveaway is now closed and the winner is Nicky!

 

Two new knitting books have hit the market recently and you're going to want both in your personal library! Both are from the publisher Sixth & Spring and both feature two great yarn brands--Cascade and Noro! 

The first is 60 Quick Knitted Toys. All the patterns feature yarn from the Cascade 220 Superwash Collection. Obviously superwash and kids toys make a practical pairing. Cascade 220 is a standard line of yarns---you really can't go wrong when choosing it for a knitting project. It's widely available and had a broad range of colors available. The book itself boasts a broad range of patterns. There is definitely a little something for everyone, from modern robots to classic teddy bears. Most knitting books rate their patterns on a difficulty scale and, as far as I could see, there isn't a single "beginner" pattern. But that is to be expected. Toys often require seaming, stitching and other techniques beyond a simple worked-flat rectangular scarf or in-the-round cowl. So this might not be a book for newbie knitters. However, the pattern I opted to do first is simple enough for newbie knitters to challenge themselves with. It's the Naptime Elf and my progress can be seen in one of the photos above. I used some Cascade 220 I had in my personal stash. I had dyed the one with dandelions and the other with avocado pits and skins. 

The second book is Knit Noro Accessories 2 and features that gorgeous Noro yarn. Odds are, just like with Cascade  220, you've probably heard of Noro yarn, seen it in yarn shops. They are known for their fun play with color and textures. Most of the patterns in the book do a top notch job of showcasing all that makes Noro Noro. The patterns themselves have lovely construction, shapes, and textural stitch designs that would be great with many other yarns, not just Noro. I pulled two skeins of alpaca/wool blend yarns (dyed with logwood and hollyhocks/blueberries) from my stash and plan to make the Lace Beanie. And unlike many books that only offer accessories for women, this book has a few for men. Another perk about this book is that it is hardcover. Paperback is cheaper to produce but the fact that it sits flat when open is so nice when you're following the pattern. (Heads up publishers--splurge on hardcover or, better yet, spiral bindings for us!)

Not only did Sixth&Spring send me a copy of each of these books, they are offering one lucky BV reader a copy of each as well. To enter, simply visit the library on Ravelry for 60 Quick Knitted Toys and Knit Noro Accessories 2 and tell me in the comments below what your favorite pattern is! This giveaway is limited to the US and Canada. Winner will be drawn randomly at 6PM US Eastern on April xx.