Pumpkin Cottage, Arm warmers and Miss Poppy.

This past week has been a hodge podge collection of things. I finally finished one of the fall ceramic collections I had been working on and got it in the kiln for it’s first firing. Now comes the part of sketching, painting the designs and glazing. For some reason I always seem to take a bit of break during this part. I think because I am so focused it takes a lot out of me. So when they are finally in the kiln it’s like I am taking a breath that I had been holding. If that makes sense.

Anyway during that time I dove into crocheting. I learned the basics long ago when I was a kid but never grasped any real concept. I have been knitting for some years now and feel comfortable in that space. Still much to learn though! And well I saw a piece… I don’t even remember what it was now. So I started reading and I was understanding it very differently than I remembered. I got a hook and tried and failed many times over. I think this glove was started and ripped out 7 times. Although the first two patterns were horribly written (no this time it was not just me and my misunderstanding) third pattern was the trick, beautifully written and I was able to challenge myself because whoa the technical aspect for me was a whole new world but I got there in the end and I am so excited.

This was my first attempt before I changed patterns. This one was not well written at all but also the scale portion went too far up the hand making it impossible to do anything while wearing them. I prefer to be able to use my fingers when I have on fingerless gloves.

The below image is the pattern that is beautifully written. It is by Seda Demir Ortolina of Happy Seal Design which you can find on Ravelry.

I used an acrylic yarn that I had on hand because I knew this was just a tester. I try to keep acrylics for other projects… I am not a fan of acrylic yarn for garmet items. There I prefer wool. To each their own.. just my preference. Anway so I got this glove done. I am very pleased and will be working my next one in a cashmere merino blend.

I also did a bit of baking, usually make a few loafs of bread a week. Made some elderberry jam and got some pumpkins from the garden processed and in the freezer. Along with homeschooling and other adventures around the house it has been a busy week.

Hope you are well my friends.

Design Boards and a Sleepy Pup

The last few days have been filled with spring garden projects and beginning to harden plants off to be out in the garden soon. Today it decided we needed a break and it rained all day. Perfect day for indoor activities.. which for me meant getting a few more quilt design boards done.

Following the tutorial from the wonderful Lori Holt … I made a few a couple of years ago and I use them quite a bit. So much so they have been on my to make “more” list for a while.

Last time when I made them I used hot glue. Well this time I changed things up a bit. I tested out using heat bond and I love it so much! Plus no more burnt fingertips on the hot glue.

I used my bias tape maker and a jelly roll to make strips, zig zag stitched over the seam and then ironed heat bond to the side with the seam (I feel like the seam is just a bit more secured this way)

I like to iron the edges first.

Then press down one side, then the other. The corners stay pretty well but I like to add a bit of fabric glue and then put some quilt clips on to secure it well.

Thats it. Lori has a whole tutorial for how to make them. Lots of good suggestions in the comments too. I will warn you… these make quilting so much easier to stay organized when piecing… You won’t be able to make sure one.

And of course Miss Daisy was very helpful as always. She takes her supervising job very seriously as you can see. Perfect time for napping.

Mushroom Socks

I had planned to be back in the pottery months ago. For some reason my head is just not there. I struggle to stay focused, to find the energy to get in there and create. I have loads of ideas, I have sketched things out.. planned on how to bring these ideas to life and yet I just can’t seem to do it.

So I have found that knitting has been my happy place. Where it used to be that I struggled with my knitting… held the needles tightly, stressing over every stitch, hyper focused on the pattern. Now I relax (sometimes too much). I am able to read, or watch a movie without looking down at the stitches I am making. This is both good and bad. It has given me a safe place to land while my brain takes a break and can work through whatever it needs to and yet it is a bit too comfortable for me to stay cozy and knit all day. (or is it really?)

I have my first finish of 2023, Mushroom socks. These were so fun for me to make although they are not without their issues. The main color yarn I used did not offer much for the mushrooms and stems to contrast against so they blend in a bit more than I would like. Also I made them a size bigger than normal (I have no idea why, more of that mental fog going on right now) so they are very roomy. Bit annoying but would be great if I have to double up socks for extra warmth, then they would be perfect!

I still need to weave in the ends and block them. Maybe that will shrink them down a bit. Does anyone else issues with a noticeable line when using magic loop? I used to not be a fan of dpns BUT now that I keep getting this line I am beginning to lean more that way than magic loop. What are your thoughts?

Happy Wednesday friends. What projects are you working on?

Blessed Lughnasadh

Today we celebrate Lughnasadh. We have been harvesting from the garden this past week. Prepping and storing away for the winter. I love this time of year, I am not a summer person however I enjoy gardening as well as the appreciation that I get from this season for the other three that I love so much.

The garden has taken over as it usually does this time of year. It is untamed and wild. We enjoy all the visitors while we harvest and plant for winter. This year we had sunflowers sprout from last year. I think they are mammoths as they are now well over 15 ft high. One laid down but stayed rooted and bloomed, which to me is another beautiful lesson from nature. We may get knocked around a bit, but no matter what keep blooming.

I mentioned that I was taking a little break from pottery. Well I finally took the plunge and bought an espinner. This past week in between batches of preserving garden treasures I spun my first fiber braid. What an experience! The Sweet School of Georgia and a very dear friend of mine, Sarah have been amazing. I spun a full braid, made a 2 ply yarn, washed it and it is now drying. She is full of character with her wobbles. I am very much looking forward to knitting her up.

I hope to do some more spinning as well as finishing up some other projects and clean the pottery. This month is always a busy one for us. With the garden chores and the regular goings on, it is also our boys’ birthday month. So a very busy and very special month for us.

Are you excited for Fall? What projects are you working on? Any plans for handmade gifts for the holidays?

Happy Monday Friends.

Summer Days

Every winter when the days are short and everything seems to slow down I plan for the coming spring. And every year I think “this is it, this is the year I have a solid plan and will get things done” and every year the cart goes off the rails. I have decided that this year I am accepting that I am just along for the ride.

We did manage to get the rock down in the garden before the heat hit. Thank goodness. With this heat we can manage a bit of time in the garden but not long before we cool off in the pool. Which the boys are are very much enjoying this summer. The garden is doing well although the Japanese Beetles have been wreaking havoc. We applied beneficial nematodes however we waited too long and they were already pretty well established. Leigh Anne with GlennLeighFarms got herself a dust buster to vacuum them up. Mine should be arriving any day now, I am determined to save the rose hips and rhubarb! Wish me luck.

Finished up the pre order for Mushroom Root, whew that took a lot out of me. Happy that everything has been sent off to their new homes. At first I kind of didn’t know what to do with myself to be honest. I had been so focused on getting the orders done that everything else got pushed to the side. It has been nice to putter in the sewing room, finish up quilts for the boys I started a while back. I have been planning all the new projects I want to do. I want to sew some dresses, start some quilts, work on fairy houses, try my hand at watercolors, knit a few rows, cast on a few things…. throw in some embroidery, crochet and oh I almost forgot. Spinning. I ordered the Ashford espinner 3 and I so excited!

Miss Clover has taken to her role as emotional knitting support companion. More like crochet support companion. I have been trying to crochet this cowl and my gosh I can’t get my stitch count right the first time for anything. It is only an 18 row pattern and I think I have done each row 2-3 times to get the stitch count right. I would have several of these by now if I had the right amount of stitches the first time.

I am excited for fall. I had plans for the pottery for the fall and holiday season but I am not sure if I will be pushing through to do that this year. I am leaning towards taking a break from this season and embrace a slower pace. We shall see. I am looking forward to crisp air, steaming mugs of magical goodness.. add in some cozy knits and I am all set.

I just set out my little kit from Alicia Paulson (Posiegetscozy) on my knitting dresser. I told myself I couldn’t start it until I finish one of my current works in progress. We shall see if I can stick to that.

I would love to hear what you are working on. Did you plant a garden this year? How is it going so far?

A few of my favorite things. And by things I mean yarn of course.

I am really beginning to believe that I was either a magpie or chipmunk in another life. I have spaces in my home set up for creating and yet I find that I keep little stashes tucked away in various spots around the house. Not to mention a little coat rack of sorts to hang “on the go” project bags for when we leave the house. Because how could I leave and not have my knitting.

Right now my living room stash basket is filled with Woolberry, Desert Vista Dyeworks, Loft Twenty Two and Kate Selene

I tend to keep one skein projects tucked away around the house (who knows when the mood will strike to cast on another sock right?) I absolutely blame Kay over at https://crazysockladyco.com/ for this. If it weren’t for her I would absolutely still be dreading socks.

The projects that require more yarn gets tucked away in the studio. Behind a screen door. Yes I had my husband put a screen door on the sewing studio. I have found that our cats love yarn as much as I do.

Home studio. Yarn Stash.

And of course there is my basket full of current projects. I have my no frills sweater by Petite Knits being worked up in chamomile from The Plucky Knitter (this is my first “for me” sweater). Then there is the Calendula kids sweater by Agasalhos e Bugalhos for the boys and of course Mr Merry Bear (1 of 2)… with twins I usually knit two of everything.

Basket full of current works in progress

Happy knitting friends.

Cottage Witchery

There is a chill in the air, the leaves are starting change and I am loving it. The garden has seemed to calm and soon we will be tidying her up for her winters rest. I find that I too am slowing a bit, taking in the changing of the season. Slow days, enjoying cozy meals, candle light, cardigans, quilts and hand knitted socks keeping our toes nice and toasty.

Most days you can find me juggling homeschooling, cottage witchery and making pottery. A while back I moved my sewing studio upstairs and moved the pottery to the main floor. This way I was closer and more able to multi task daily chores and activities. That being said I had yet to take the time and get my sewing room in working order. I took the time this week while my next pottery collection was drying and then was in the kiln for their first round of firing to do just that.

I can definitely tell Autumn has arrived in our home, cobblers in cast iron, steaming mugs of magical goodness, lots of knitting, puttering and nesting….. making cozy spaces, working on holiday gifts. I have a few quilts to get on the long arm and several things I need to get off the needles. How about you? Are you working on any handmade gifts for the winter holiday? I am debating if I should cast on for a knitted stocking…. I would love to hear what you are making!

Hope you are enjoying a cozy start to Autumn if that is the season where you are.

love and magic to you my friends.

Peach Cobbler cast iron skillet
My home sewing studio
Tea time and knitting Mr. Bear
Wall hangings for Mushroom Root Pottery

Knit Mitts and Clay

First finish of 2021 and I am thrilled. So I went ahead and knit the right hand mitt again going up one needle size and use the magic loop method instead of DPNs as I mentioned in my previous post. And it worked like a charm. Maybe one day I will have more confidence (and patience) working with DPNs but for now I will keep avoiding them… it works for now.

The one on the right was my first one on DPNs and as you can see my tension was a big snug. Now the one on the left is the new with the bigger needle size. It is a bit bigger obviously. But also I didn’t soak and block the first one. I like a looser fit…

I also like the length of the cuff to go a bit further down. That way when I am moving around and my coat moves it doesn’t get drafty down my sleeve.

I am so pleased with out this second one turned out. It was a bit nerve wracking … I am taking a break before I dive into the left hand mitt. Going to work on some beanies for the boys. I am also getting back into the pottery studio.. If only I could knit faster hahah

Other than knitting I have been working on planning some new things for my little shop. I am going to be adding some fabric items and changing my fairy houses from polymer clay to stoneware. A bit of a learning curve and lot of trial and error but I think it will get there…

A little tester Mushroom house. Once she dries I can get her in a bisque kiln and see how she does. Then glazing and into a glaze kiln to see if she can make it through without exploding.. fingers crossed.

Happy Friday Friends.

Knitting magic loop vs double pointed needles

So I am still a beginner with knitting. I starting knitting while I was pregnant with our twins so about 6ish years ago. Since I started I have done only a handful of colorwork projects that worked with two different colors, like a striped hat with red and white.

This project was my reward for finishing the boys’ cardigans in time for Christmas. The first ones I ever knitted for them were pullovers and they took me forever to knit. They were my first attempt at knitting sweaters and I was going at a snails pace. So by the time I was done…. the boys had grown so much that their heads did not fit through. (Trust me I tried desperately to make them fit hahahah) I kept them for nostalgia but had to begin again. This time I made them button front, went a few sizes up and tried to knit as fast as I could. It was a good exercise and I was beyond thrilled that I finished even if I was sewing the buttons on into the wee hours of Christmas morning.

Cardigan pattern by https://www.agasalhosebugalhos.com/

With those done and that goal accomplished I had set this mitt pattern aside for me. I wanted to give it a go and see how I faired with working a color work project like this.. before I dove back into knitting another double project for the boys. Twins = I knit double everything.

For my celebratory knitting project for myself I chose the Briar Mitt pattern by https://knitfoxandfolk.com/

The pattern is so easy to follow. I have tried so many knit patterns.. many a times I end up frustrated because I am not grasping what I am supposed to do. This pattern is a breeze and so fun. I was excited to read my first color chart and again her instructions make this knit super easy and fun.

Now the crux. Double pointed needles and I do not get along. I have an issue with keeping the tension between the needles then throwing in colorwork on top of it was not a good mix. I knitted this first mitt as my swatch, to get a feel for the pattern and how my tension was with the double pointed needles.

I extended the cuff by 5 rounds to make it longer… personal preference. The tension was a bit too tight which I figured would be the case. Not too sure what happened and made that wobble appear on the thumb… oops.

I was beyond thrilled to have it finished and how easy I found following a color chart to be. It was great practice but keeping the tension with double pointed needles and working with multiple colors… I found it maddening. So this second go round I went up one needle size and decided to pitch the double pointed needles and go with magic loop instead. What a difference and I am only just on the cuff…

I did an extra row after casting on and then started on the colorwork. So far I can feel a huge difference with the size. The tension feels even and I am able to work it up quick while keeping the tension even across the piece. I am excited to get to the flowers and see how differently it works up on magic loop.

I should have known to start out with magic loop vs double pointed needles. Even when working sleeves I will opt for working on circular needles or magic loop, anything to stay away from those dreadful dpns… but I wanted to give the pattern a try in it’s original form before I went off and made adjustments for my style of knitting.

Anyway… there is my two cents. This pattern is amazing. I cannot wait to finish these mitts up and start on the cowl. Beautiful pieces easy to follow patterns. If you are new to colorwork this is a good challenge starter.

I would love to hear about your experiences with double pointed needles, knitting, colorwork…. do you have any knitting quarks/tricks that make it easier for you?