FO: Color-block scarf

Hello, all! I have another 2018 gift to share with you today. It’s unique in that it’s a design that I threw together myself. I was trying to find a gift idea that was practical yet classy for my mother-in-law. I went through some patterns on Ravelry, but couldn’t quite find what I was looking for. Thus, the “color-block scarf” was born! (I know. Catchy name, right?)

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I got some info from T about what her favorite colors were, and after careful deliberation, I decided to combine them via color-blocking. The idea behind this was that it would, hopefully, help the scarf to go with multiple outfits as she could wear whichever color matches on the front/top of the scarf. She wears red often so the goal was to give her a fun accessory to match.
I was also a little worried with the red once I started working with it. It definitely needed some other colors to tone it down a little bit. It’s like… Violently red.

I really like the fabric made by this stitch so I’m already planning on using it again on a future project. Maybe another version of the scarf, but striped or solid color would be nice! I have so much yarn sitting around, I’m sure I could come up with something. (At that point would it even still be called the “color-block scarf”!?)

I think I still have the project notes for this somewhere so if anyone is interested in having the pattern, leave a comment below and I’ll cobble together a readable pattern from my coded notes! 🙂

(They’re not coded. They’re just chicken scratch and only I can read them.)

I’ll be back in the near future with other yarny news. Thanks for reading! ❤

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You spin me right round

With all the talk of the Tour de Fleece lately, I thought now would be a good time to share some of my spinning adventures. I wrote an entry quite a while back sharing my experience with building a DIY spindle. I couldn’t wait to give it a try, so I went to Knit Picks and grabbed a pack of their Bare Wool of the Andes roving.

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My first spinning attempts were awful. I ended up with a blobby, unusable mess that couldn’t have been salvaged even if I wanted to try. I was a little discouraged so I shoved my roving and spindle into the back of the closet. I knew I’d eventually be bitten by the bug and want to try again so I let myself forget about it for a few months. Sure enough, I saw some handspun yarn on Instagram and that was the inspiration I needed to break out the roving and spindle again. The thing that amazed me the most with this second attempt was that, despite not working on it for months, it was actually okay! I guess the months of letting the spinning knowledge stew in my brain really helped? (Does that even make sense?)

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of my first spinning attempt. (I threw it away to run away from the failure, ha ha!) The second attempt was definitely better though! It was thicker than I wanted, sure, but it was more consistent. Once I got the hang of it, all I wanted to do was keep spinning. In fact, I spun half of what I had before I even noticed!

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Eventually, I went online and bought a new spindle. I suspect that my little DIY spindle isn’t balanced very well so I wanted to try something that was professionally made. It was a little overwhelming looking at all of the spindles available, but I finally decided on a Schacht Hi-Lo spindle. I liked that I had the option of spinning high or low whorl, and it had good ratings. I used up the last half of my roving the first day it arrived, and it was my best spin yet, though it wasn’t great by any means. But you know what, that’s fine. It was just cool to know that I’m capable of getting better at this after that terrifying first attempt.

My latest goal is to try plying my little pile of singles into a finished yarn. I’m also wanting to give dyeing a try so I’ve been doing a lot of reading on that. I think my first attempt will be dip dyeing, but I’m really excited at the prospect of handpainted yarn. It’ll be a while before I’m feeling confident enough to try that, but until then, I’m going to have a lot of fun spinning my own special yarns.

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Close up of my latest spin

I’ll definitely be back to talk about my plying and dyeing attempts, but until then feel free to leave me a comment and let me know if you’ve ever tried handspinning or dyeing your own yarn. I’d love to hear any stories you have about your first attempts.

See you next time! ❤

DIY Drop Spindle

Recently, I’ve been really interested in the idea of handspinning and dying my own yarn. I spent a huge chunk of my afternoon last week Googling the basics of handspinning. I learned about different types of spindles, where to get fiber, how to prepare your fiber, and finally how to actually spin it. It seems like it would be a lot of fun to learn so I’ve decided to give it a shot!

Knowing that I would need a spindle first, I did a quick search on Google for DIY spindles and found this post on the blog Of Wool and Loveliness. It seemed simple enough so I spent $5 for the necessary materials and went home to start my DIY experiment.

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In case you didn’t read the entry on Of Wool and Loveliness, all it takes to make a basic drop spindle is a dowel, a wooden wheel, and a hook. I bought the dowel and hook at my local home improvement store, and I found the wheel at a craft store.

Technically, once I put the pieces together, my homemade spindle was finished. But I really wanted to customize it and make it look nice so I bought some wood stain and polyurethane. I had stained wood before so it was piece of cake to turn this plain looking spindle into something beautiful.

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I haven’t actually spun with it yet, but I’ve been practicing by giving some of my scrap yarn a twirl. It spins so smoothly too! I was concerned that it would have a wobble, but it’s well balanced. I’m hoping to buy some roving next week, so I’ll definitely write an entry about my spinning experience!

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I talked to T about planting a cotton garden next year, assuming that I enjoy spinning. I read up on how to care for the plants and harvest the cotton. Cotton seems pretty low maintenance, so I’m actually really excited about the idea of planting some. (I might end up doing it even if I decide not to spin it, just because it seems like a waste not to use all this knowledge, ha ha!)

Are any of y’all handspinners? Leave me a comment and let me know! 🙂

Cute fitness idea from Pinterest!

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this in my blog or not so I’m going to start from the beginning!

In October of last year I decided to start dieting; in fact, I started the day before my birthday. (Bad idea, in retrospect, because I ended up not getting any birthday cake. 😦 )
But I’ve been going strong for more than 4 months, and I’ve managed to drop almost 40 lbs! I still have a quite a ways to go yet before I reach my goal, however I seem to have plateaued for one reason or another.

Determined to break free of this weight-loss rut, T and I agreed that it’d be a good idea to get a home gym. Initially, we had thought about getting a gym membership, but we’ve never stepped foot in a gym before. Not only were we worried that we wouldn’t have time to go often enough to make the expense worth it, but neither of us liked the idea of getting stinky and sweaty in public anyway. Besides, once we worked out the math, we found that the nice home gym we were looking at cost as much as 10 months worth of gym membership. (Not including gas to get to the gym in the first place.) In the end, the idea of working out at home won out over the idea of being smelly in front of people so we bought the home gym! Yay!

As we were waiting for it to come in, I poured through numerous blogs and articles on weightlifting, fitness, and the best ways to tone your body. There was no end to the amount of fitness regimes that others were pushing as “the best way to lose belly fat”, “the best workout for toning your booty”, etc.

None of them looked very exciting to me, honestly. They were often made up of the same few exercises done repeatedly for days and days. Boring! I’m the kind of person who likes having new things to do all the time. (Besides, I’ve read that repetitive workout plans become less effective the longer you do them. Who needs that mess!?)

I turned to Pinterest because it’s the capital of awesome ideas on the internet, in my opinion. And it didn’t disappoint! When I searched something like “workout routine for women”, this little gem popped up. This was exactly the kind of creative alternative I was looking for!

Now, I’m usually the one pinning everything, but never really having time to do any of the cute DIY stuff that I save. This time was different. I immediately scoured Google and made a list of all the exercises that I would be able to do, separating everything based on what part of the body it would work, then I ran to the dollar store for a pack of colored sticks. It took me most of the afternoon to arrange all of the exercises and write them down, but by the end of the day, I had completed my cute full-body workout generator!

I started my weekly workout regime last week, and I have to say that I’m very excited with how it’s turning out. There’s something about random selection that makes things so fun. I like not knowing what my workout looks like until I draw my sticks, then I get excited about trying the new exercises. I also intend to add more sticks or swap some out on a monthly basis just to keep things fresh.

At any rate, I really loved this idea, and I thought it would be a shame not to share! It’s done wonders for me so far, and even T is excited about working out now. If any of y’all have seen this before or decide to try it, let me know in the comments how it goes for you! 😀

Necklaces & stitch markers

I found myself at Hobby Lobby yesterday while I was out, and I was so happy to see that they were having a sale on the Fairy Tale brand charms! I’ve admired these charms from afar for a long time, waiting for them to go on sale. Yesterday was my lucky day, I guess. It was entirely by accident that I found myself in the jewelry-making aisle in the first place.

I picked two lockets that I’ve had my eyes on for some time and started browsing for some chains and other extras that would go well with my selections. Here’s what I came up with!

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I’ve loved Alice in Wonderland for as long as I can remember. It started with the Disney cartoon long before I was old enough to read, but as soon as I was able, I read the book. When I saw this “curiouser & curiouser” locket, it was instant love. I even managed to find a charm that I liked to go with it! I don’t know why the fish feels like it fits so well to me. Maybe because of the Fish Footman?

I had at least two other book lockets picked out before finally choosing this brass book. It was much easier to find a charm that I liked to go with it. (It took me a solid 10 minutes of searching before I found the fish!) I like the key because reading always feels like you’re unlocking the secrets of another world, right? I feel like it fits well. ❤

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I also bought a couple bags of 6mm rings to go with each necklace so I was ready to assemble them as soon as I got home. All in all, it took me maybe 5 minutes to put each necklace together. I attached the rings for the smaller charms into the chain links to keep the small charms from banging into the lockets. I also felt like it would give the necklaces a “cleaner” feel to keep the locket and charm a little separate.

The last step is to print some pictures to go inside. I’ve already picked the ones that I want, but when I took them to be printed, there wasn’t an option for making them small enough to fit in the locket. I think I’ve found a way around that though so I’ll try again after making some small modifications to the pictures. 😉

One last thing that I found at Hobby Lobby was a pack of clasps that would be perfect for stitch markers! I grabbed a pack and made myself a set of markers with some leftover beads from a previous jewelry project. I think they came out lovely, and I can’t wait to use them~

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