I’ve been having a wonderful birthday month. (A little joke but I mean why not?) I went for tacos, a hike, and to a folk music festival with my kids. Bob and I drove to Oklahoma to visit my Mom and sister. I got to stop over at Bonny’s on the way there. I went to a yarn shop in Oklahoma City with a yarn-bombed bicycle in the window and — yes — bought yarn with birthday money. I even finished knitting a project!
I am keeping up with my Celtic Mists mystery knitalong. The designer makes the clues short and sweet! While I love alpaca’s softness and drape, I normally prefer wool for elasticity. But the way this yarn is spun keeps it springy. I love working with it!
This week I planted my veggies and herbs in the garden. It’s a little early, but don’t worry. I have back ups. If those in the garden do well, I may put the extras on a table at the end of the driveway with a “free plants” sign.
The greens are doing well in the greenhouse. Bob has used mustard from the garden in a batch of kimchi. The mustard is already flowering, so I need to pull it up before it goes to seed and takes over the world.
Something has been chomping my pea stalks, which is discouraging. Last night we tried rags soaked in ammonia hanging in the garden as a deterrent. It may have worked, since there was no damage this morning. Only time will tell. I haven’t seen a single frog. I haven’t seen many slugs, either.
We’re hoping an abundance of apples this year will keep the critters away from the garden. Bob saw a fox kit on the porch this morning. I am encouraging foxes, and hawks, too. Please, come eat our menagerie of wildlife and stay away from the neighbors’ chickens. Just don’t do it when I’m watching. (Hey, predators gotta eat.) Either that, or I’ll end up like my Grandma standing in the garden in the middle of the night in my nightgown with a pistol, shooting at raccoons. (Just kidding. We don’t have a gun.)
Other than sewing three new Tekura Tees, I’ve been knitting Freya’s purple Lodge Sweater. I’m nearing the end of the first sleeve. I also started the Celtic Mists MKAL, but not much to show yet. Why yes, I did join another mystery knitalong. I think this one is more in my wheelhouse.
Oh! And I’m entering three items into the Ohio State Fair: Arrowhead, Ocean Moon, and A Lonely Heart is a Hunter. I’ve never entered anything in the Creative Arts division before, only Fine Arts, where I won some awards and sold all my pieces in 2009. That was an exciting year.
I’m nearing the shoulder seams on Freya’s purple Lodge sweater. This is pretty much the only thing I’ve been knitting on. I need to start Bob’s Knitter’s Dude soon, so I can work on it over the summer. It’s cotton and acrylic yarn, so should be nice to work on in warmer weather, and it will hopefully be done in time for his birthday in September.
I’ve cut out a second pair of Casual Cotton pants in navy stretch cotton twill. I omitted the seam allowances. I’m hoping to get some sewing time on them today. Will they fit? Who knows? I’m wearing my gray ones today even though they are too big. They are super comfy. I was hoping to be able to sew some shorts with the remnants, but I don’t have enough fabric for that.
My seedlings are looking good, though a few have given up the ghost. I’ve enjoyed mustard, kale, and daikon radish greens as I thin them out. The peas are up!
The Chinese Celery Cabbage (like Napa Cabbage) does not like the hot sun. I suspect the growing season will be short for them. I may try to plant them in the shade of the cucumbers to extend their time in the garden, but I’ve already planted lettuce there, so we’ll see.
I saw cabbage moths today, but I’m way ahead of them. I covered the greens with netting last week. Foiled!
I’ve been spending a lot of time clearing the woods in front of our house of invasive honeysuckle and black walnut saplings. The apple trees are blooming!
This month I read The Orkney Scroll by Lyn Hamilton. I decided I needed to read a cozy located in Orkney. This book fit the bill. It was fine. I was glad when it was over. There were some redundancies. It was as if her editor told her she should write a chapter at the end explaining everything that had happened.
Here is the song I’m currently listening to on repeat:
For the last three weeks I’ve been applying for jobs, getting called back for second interviews, received a call from HR to presumably be offered one of them, and then my current employer offered me more work (and more income) so I would stay. And stay I did. It’s a remote position that pays well, is exceedingly flexible, and working for the nicest man in the world. Never underestimate the influence a kind and caring boss will have on your life. This week I’ve been training on my new responsibilities and my brain hurts. Not much crafting going on.
I’ve been knitting sporadically on Freya’s purple Lodge Sweater. I also cast on a blue beanie. The blue beanie is my reset knit, when I feel overwhelmed by life and don’t want to knit anything. I frogged my Who Ya Gonna Shawl. I wasn’t enjoying it. I think colorful, complicated shawls are stunning, but not my kind of knit. I was once described by a friend as an “Over the Pond” knitter. I guess that means I like classics and basics. Technically, I know it means UK, but I’m trying to put it into a style context. However, I like trying new things, so I don’t regret giving it a shot.
I’m so sad my casual cotton pants are too big. I love the fabric, and did a beautiful job sewing them. I need to rethink my sizing before cutting anymore cloth. I did just take my measurements, but the weight is coming off faster than I expected. It’s probably not a good time to be making things for myself.
I’ve been gardening mostly. It’s that time of year, and takes more brawn than brain.
Tudors Art and Majesty
I had a lovely day trip to The Cleveland Museum of Art with Bob to see The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England. Other than the Hans Holbein sketch of Anne Boleyn, this small, mixed-media fiber work of Elizabeth I was my favorite piece in the exhibit. There were lots of textiles, though. Tapestries, especially. They were so grand, it was hard for me to take them in.
As you may have noticed, I’m experimenting with the title of my site. I feel I’ve outgrown Headknits. I tried Okie in Ohio, which I’m using on Instagram. But I also like Snakes & Cranes, because these are animals I’m fascinated by, and I like them as symbols. Other than that, it’s fairly meaningless, but rolls off the tongue and is memorable. (Although there is a martial arts film I clearly need to see.) (Also, it is meaningful — balance — but only in hindsight.)
Any votes for your favorite site title?
And I’ve switched to the Jetpack app, but only because they made me.
Today is our “date-iversary,” a celebration of our first date when Bob and I went out for mango sorbet. It was awkward and now we’re married. Bob agrees this statement is accurate.
I’ve made progress this week on Powdermill. I’m enjoying this knit. Nothing like straightforward, repetitive colorwork to keep you going. (I’m giving Arrowhead side-eye.) Also, this yarn is scrumptious. I’m glad I have a stash full of it!
I’m also up to 12 inches on the body of the purple Lodge Sweater. It’s my mindless knitting. However, spring is coming, and I’m starting to shift my focus to sewing.
This week I finished sewing my Ottobre casual cotton pants. I can’t wait to wear them. It’s still too cold for this cotton twill, which is a medium weight. I’m planning to sew another pair in navy stretch twill, and then Simplicity s9376 in black brushed cotton twill.
The new Ottobre has a lovely summer top pattern, and it only takes 1.5 yards for my size. I have some cotton prints in mind for this from stash. The polka dot was a gift from BonnyKnits, and the batiks are fair trade from Global Mamas in Ghana.
I continue to alter my sewing plan (see what I did there?) as I assess my wardrobe needs.
I finished spinning my Pumpkins for Sale BFL fiber. This was my first time chain plying, and I enjoyed it. My spinning is getting more even, but I still have a long way to go.
It looks good with the yarn I spun from the same fiber, and dyed orange. (I was exhausting a dye bath.) These plus one more color will knit up a nice Shift cowl in the fall. I have more BFL fiber in stash to spin. What color should I dye it to go with these? Maybe russet, or olive green? I’d like the cowl to be made completely from hand spun. Let me know your opinions on the color in the comments.
DIY Hair Care
I thought I was on the right track with my homemade hair care products. But after a few weeks, my hair started feeling like straw. I’m back to purchasing products. Maybe if I get a good crop of soapwort this year, I can try again with that.
It’s still too cold to start seeds or plant peas. I hope it warms up soon!
I’ve got a good start on my Casual Cotton Pants. Right now I’m waiting on a matching zipper to arrive to sew the fly. I had a gray zipper that was too light, and a black zipper that was too dark. I could have tried to make do, but zippers are under $2 and I know I will use those other zippers some day. Normally I serge the seams, but in the interest of being able to alter these should I lose any more weight, I decided to serge the edges of the waistband pieces and stitch them together. They will be easier to unpick that way.
Clue 3 dropped on Who Ya Gonna Shawl? but I’m still knitting Clue 1. I love these colors together. I’m not sure I’m knitting the stitches correctly, and they don’t look like the spoiler pic. It may be because I chose a dark contrast color instead of a light one. Ultimately, I don’t think it really matters. Ghosts or Galaga? Who cares, right? I’ll keep working on this as the mood strikes. I honestly don’t know how people keep up with mystery knitalongs like this. There are some fast knitters out there!
I’m a little down on knitting right now. After finishing Arrowhead (which I ironically call “my opus” to myself) I guess I need a little break. I’ve been thinking about picking up a long languishing project, or even casting on something new from stash. Or, I might spin for a while.
Have a great week, YOPpers! Sorry not sorry about the title. Bob and I watched Weird: the Al Yankovic Story last week and I can’t stop thinking about it.
Sizing: it is slightly too large. The sleeves are too long. But since it is a jacket, and I’m short, I did modify it to fit me better. I thought about ripping out the cuffs and a couple of inches of knitting on the sleeves, and then reknitting the cuffs. But I have noticed my sweaters start to felt when I spin them in the washer to get the excess water out. If this starts to felt, I’d like a little leeway in the sizing. My Ranunculus arms are bracelet length now, which I’m not crazy about. I’m always pulling on them. So I think I’ll leave this as is. It’s cozy.
I’m pleased with this facing technique. Instead of covering the steek edges with ribbon, you pick up stitches and knit stockinette a few rows to cover it, then sew it down. I will be using this technique in the future, for sure. Overall, I’m surprised I didn’t make any mistakes. I did have a few errors, but was able to fix them. I may enter it in the State Fair.
And can I take a moment to sing the praises of Icelandic wool? It’s lightweight, warm, and surprisingly soft. No, you wouldn’t want to wear it next to the skin. But over a shirt, it’s great!
I applied for a second part-time job last week, and even though I don’t know if I will get it or not, I’ve realized I need some business casual wear. I think I should get on those Audrey Pants in brushed black cotton. If they turn out well, I can sew another pair in gray cotton twill.
I finished Keeper of the Queen’s Jewels. I liked it. I gave it four stars on Goodreads. I’m on track to finish 12 books this year, which is a hilarious goal. I do have other books partially read as well, if I can bother to finish them.
This week I sewed an outfit from lightweight merino wool jersey. I got this fabric for a great price on Etsy. I think the seller was clearing out the 100% merino, or maybe because it’s lightweight. Anyway, I knew I wanted some black wool wide-legged pants for spring. I only needed two yards for that, and I still eked out a Tekura Tee to match. The pants are from the Ottobre PJ pants pattern. I think one leg may be just a skosh longer than the other, but I’m not sure I care enough to do anything about it.
A few new sewing patterns have caught my eye, and I’ve updated my project list with them. I’m also losing weight (not intentionally, just happening from medication and diet changes) so I’m pushing back any tailored pant sewing until my weight levels out. But I’m already excited about sewing new linen garments from my stash.
I’ve finished knitting the sleeves on Arrowhead. I’m ready to knit the armhole facings, and then I can pick up and knit the collar. After that, just the collar facing to go! I can’t believe I’m nearing the finish line on this project.
Other than that, I’ve started The Who Ya Gonna Shawl knitalong, and am nearing the end of the hem ribbing on Freya’s Lodge Sweater.
DIY Hair Products
My homemade shampoo is working great. It’s a simple recipe of water, Castile soap, and argan oil. The conditioner is also working, but I think I may be able to skip this step and simply use a little argan oil on my hair after towel drying, at least while it’s this short. I may also experiment with an herbal hair rinse, possibly with marshmallow root since it’s emollient. (Cue to me looking in the garden for someplace to grow marshmallow. I’ve always loved the look of the plant. Now I have a reason.)
I’ve primarily been focusing on my Arrowhead cardigan. I’ve steeked the front, and am close to the cuff on the sleeves. After that, there will only be finishing left to do! I expect that will take me a week or two, as there are facings in addition to cuff and neckline ribbing to knit. I am really looking forward to finishing and wearing this cardi!
I played around with my new Addi Express knitting machine. There’s good news and bad news.
The bad news is that it knits worsted weight yarn too loosely to make a usable fabric, unless you want air and drape. The good news is I think I can make slippers and mittens in aran and bulky weight yarns. I could use scraps and quickly knit these for myself and my family. I really need to work on my afterthought heel, though, as it’s too shallow.
The other bad news is that the machine is persnickety about which yarns it will knit successfully. I will have to experiment, but I think it prefers a smoother yarn. I don’t knit with acrylic, so it will be interesting to see if I can make it work with my wooly scraps. I’ll keep you posted!