Tuesday, January 26, 2021

FO: Bloomsbury Sweater

 Hey ho! My Bloomsbury Sweater is finished!

I started this pattern back in September of 2019, took it with me to England the next month (with the hopes of knitting it in Bloomsbury) and have been working on and off for another year! 

The V-shaped neckline with the lace sleeves is so flattering. I would totally create another pattern that has a similar look. 

The beginning of the lace yoke section was quite tricky to get going with the increases due to how the designer wrote up the instructions with the lace charts. I ended up creating a chart photo in my Ravelry notes to keep track of everything. 

I tried out Caron's Pantone Bamboo yarn in the color "Indigo" when they first released it. I have have mixed feelings because although it is soft, it splits and I am sure it will pill quite a bit. 

This project took me about 4.5 skeins of yarn for a size large in US 6 needles.

I can't resist a heathered yarn though.

I used a tubular cast-on method for the neckline, and the sleeves and hem were cast off using "Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Cast Off" method. It doesn't look as clean, but I was driven to knit a garment that stretches!

The first set of sleeves took me the longest. For some reason it took AGES! The second sleeve really only took less than a week, so I don't know what my deal was. I was dealing more with chronic neck and shoulder pain this past year that has stopped me from knitting more than 20 minutes at a time, so that was probably it.

I'm convinced that every time you take a picture of this shade of blue, it will never come out the same.

I was so excited when I tried it on for the first time and it fit perfectly. 

This is literally fresh off the needles, so I haven't even blocked it out yet. I expect the sleeves and sweater length to grow a bit. 

It's quite snowy! Stay safe!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

FO: Blushing Roses Embroidery

As you can tell by our interrupted knitting schedule that I am knee deep into embroidery kits. I love the short, planned out projects that are fully put together for you.
This one was actually the first kit I bought and has been sitting patiently for months on my shelf. It wasn't until the planter embroidery project  that I decided to work on florals.
I don't think that the ink disappears under water like my other kit, so I had to try to pull out the flower pedals more to hit the ink underneath.
Someone really needs to stop me! I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased a Wildflowers kit, along with a Desert Flower one with organza fabric.
I love how it's 3D. My only complaint was it was hard to needle 6 stands of through through the fabric at times and it bruised my fingers up. But, it's worth it, right?

Monday, January 11, 2021

WIP: 2021 Christmas Socks

While the Christmas tree is still up (do you take yours down late too?), I decided to cast on my 2021 Christmas socks. They will just be a casual pair to knit on all year. October through December gets so busy that I don't always have time to whip up a pair in time for the holidays, so this is my way around that.

I just love self-patterning yarn. It's so satisfying seeing the yarn do all of the work.

This was 2020's pair that I casually worked on last year:

See you soon. I have another embroidery project coming off the hoop!

Friday, January 08, 2021

FO: Mountain Punch Needle Kit

I took this week off, as I normally do the first week of January since I am self-employed, and since there is no prospect of vacationing with the pandemic still running amuck, I have claimed it my "craft-cation." Aside from casting on another pair of socks I have been jumping down new craft rabbit-holes, such as embroidery and now punch needling. If you missed my last embroidery post from yesterday, you can find it here

Hobby Lobby's "Mountain Punch Needle" kit is my first attempt and completed punch needle project. I purchased this with a 40% off coupon months ago, but am finally got around to working on it today. If you are interested in purchasing it, be fore-warned that the colors in the photo do not match what they include in the kit. In hindsight, I would gravitate toward woolen yarns next time as this particular kid is splitty and too silky. That enables the yarn to come loose from the monk cloth too easily.

There's room for improvement, but it's decent enough to look at if you hang it high up. ;)

I watched Bookhou's punch needle tutorial on Creativebug (our library gives us free membership with our active library card), and was instructed to paint my color-scheme with watercolors before I began. I didn't care for the colors that came with the set (the colors were different!), so what I did was play around with little snips of yarn on my mountains to figure out a plan and then paint my final plan.

If you look closely you'll notice that I accidentally switched some of the colors (oi!), but all is fine. 

Punch needing is a quick project, so if you are in need of an instant gratification project, this is it. You can draw your own pictures and get to town mixing textiles, colors and textures using the right and wrong side of the work. The side you see is actually the "wrong side." The back of this project has a more shaggy rug look to it (that's why this is basically rug-hooking), and you can switch back and forth between those two textures if you so please.

I encourage everyone to take a little "craft-cation," even if that means only on Saturday and Sunday. Take some time to create all the things--it's fun!

Until next time...stay healthy and happy, folks!

Thursday, January 07, 2021

FO: Epipremnum Aureum Embroidery Project

Ever have something in your Amazon cart for months and finally decide to purchase it? That was this Kissbury's Epipremnum Aureum embroidery kit and crane embroidery scissors for me. How do you not smile looking at it?

The project itself was a breeze. There was a video on the item listing page to help with most of the techniques since the instructions were sparse.
I have two more kits sitting in my craft room. One is a tiny Blushing Rose kit from Walmart (I purchased it inside the store), and the other is a Mountain Punch Needle set from Hobby Lobby. 

I haven't forgotten about my landscape from Lark Rising. I just have the clouds left!

Saturday, January 02, 2021

The 2021 Guide to Organizing Your Craft Space

Happy New Year, folks! 

The new year is always about re-organizing and living a healthier life, and so here's a new and improved guide to craft organization!

Before we dive in, here's a little blast from the past! In 2016 I gave my first craft room tour on the blog. My craft room used to be a 10x10 space, where 5x10 was dedicated to my craft room, and 5x10 was my husband's office space. (Ok, my space was more like 7x10 and he only had a little desk in the corner of the room.) 

2016-2018 craft space

I had a pegboard where I hung all of my nicer yarns like in a yarn shop, and it was quite pretty to look at, and everything was out in front to inspire. However, I had a lot of miscellaneous things and yarn that did not fit that needed to be stored away in the closet and such, and it ended up not working for me in the long run as I added to my stash and crafting endeavors over time. 

Well, that and giving up this room to my son.

Then, when I relocated everything to my master bedroom in 2018, the new shelving units and such got displaced and most other things ended up in my closet. It doesn't look it from the photo, but it was a hot mess behind-the-scenes for the surplus items. My husband was quite a champ for not minding all of the knitting dominating our BEDroom.

2018-2019 craft space

And then we moved into our current house April of 2020 and I claimed the main-level office with the nice bay window for my new craft room. I will be re-painting the unappealing cottage-yellow walls eventually. I am still undecided on the color...

Current craft space

So thus starts the new tour! Please keep in mind that I have been collecting and upgrading since I started knitting in 18 years ago, and this post is 100% UN-SPONSORED. I just hope this post gives you ideas on how to organize your craft space if you have been struggling (like I have) over the years. I think this system works out very well.


I highly recommend getting a large enough shelving unit that can store more than your current stash. Whether or not you fill that extra space with yarn in the future, you can use the extra cubbies to place storage baskets or drawers with tools and other crafting items. (I actually re-purposed cheap plastic drawers that I've had for years so I can see the contents inside. One day I might upgrade those drawers, but for now they serve their purpose.)

What you see are actually 6 separate shelving units that I purchased on Walmart.com. The units are from the Better Homes & Garden's 5-Cube Storage line in the color "Rustic Gray." The price is astronomical now, so note that I splurged on them when they were on sale. 6 units may seem excessive, but I didn't want to out-grow them in the distant future and have mis-matching shelving in the same room. 
Now, the secret to yarn organization is separating them by YARN WEIGHT SECTIONS. After that, feel free to organize by color (I can't be bothered to do that). Think: lace, sock yarn, sport, worsted, aran, bulky and super bulky.
If you have a lot of sock yarn cakes, sometimes it's easiest to just place them in a fancy box in the shelving cubby because they have a tendency to roll all over the place. 

For loose fiber, do yourself a favor and place them in gallon-sized ziplock baggies to discourage moths, dust and (god-forbid) rodents from nibbling on your stash. You really can do that with your yarn too, or place the yarn in stackable plastic storage containers that fit inside the shelving unit.

What to do with your leftover sockyarn (that may end up in a memory blanket one day)? Small bits of leftover yarn are together on the TOP of my shelf (therefore not taking up prime real-estate). However, I have seen people place them in big fancy vases for a decorative touch. HomeGoods and other discount places would be the perfect spot to find those.


Another discount shop hunt for you: fancy chest boxes. I have this France trunk that I purchased at Ross a number of years ago. It serves as decoration and on a functional level if you do not have a lot of dresser-drawer room left in your bedroom. You'd obviously want a larger trunk or such for hats, shawls, etc. This is an old picture, and since then I have out-grown this chest. I think it will become my hat chest soon.


Circular Needle Storage:

For a while, I was storing my circular needles in pencil pouches organized by size in a large binder. While it can work for some people, it never worked out in the long-run because I had too many and the binder wouldn't close properly. 

Then one day I saw this item at a store and realized what I have been needing my whole knitting life...a photo storage case!

You can find 4x6 photo cases on Amazon, but I purchased this one at a discount store called "Tuesday Morning" for only $12 bucks! Sold.

Full disclaimer: they don't store the bulkiest of needle sizes very well, but I only use them once every 5+ years, so I am fine storing the needle sizes that I actually use, and keep the others in those pencil pouches somewhere else until that blue moon rises.

You can certainly sharpie the size onto the case, but a label maker (I purchased this Dymo label maker at Walgreens a few years back) works wonders, and if you have to re-organize you can just take off the sticker.

DPN Storage:

Now get that label maker out for this too! Behold, a dpn organizer!

It's actually a pencil/marker organizer, but I purchased it for about $15 on Amazon

I label both the US and metric sizes on the same label. Another great idea is to store your needle gauges next to organizers like these.

Straight Needle Storage:

Goodness, I bought this decorative wine holder at Michaels back in 2003 or something, and it has survived all this time--childhood room, college, first apartment, first house, our current house... 

I really don't use straight needles anymore, but I still think that this is the prettiest way of storing your straight needles, as you can usually see the size on the metal head tip of the needles.

You can always store them in sewn needle holders, but I don't like to clutter up my wall space anymore. 


NOTIONS, TOOLS and all other craft organization STORAGE:

Basically, this entire section of the post is one giant "store as much as you can away in clear plastic cases!" 

Project bags are always nice. Although I am a novice sewer, I have sewn most of my knitting bags to save money. I have a small notions pouch or plastic pencil holders for almost every project bag, so that I don't have to worry about being without something essential (darning needle, cable needle or small scissors) when I am out and about with my project.

Separating my stitch markers in a clear case was an idea that I had in 2019.  You can buy inexpensive organizers on Amazon, find them at craft stores and even for a few bucks at Walmart. 

The 750 piece bulb-shaped saftey pin set was a steal on Amazon. I think I paid $8 or $9 bucks for the set, and it came with the case! This listing is no longer available, but you can find plenty of others in the search bar.

Why not store your pom-poms in cases too, so they are together and not getting smashed?
Store you embroidery floss in cases (now this one I would store by color), and then store all of that in a cubbby bin on your shelf!
KAM snap storage. Once again, embroidery floss cases work wonders for most items.
Beading supplies.

For odds-and-ends sewing supplies, stack-able containers work well.

DESK/TABLE Organization:

I don't care what your desk or table looks like, but make sure you keep it clear of things you don't use on a daily basis so that your creative juices can flow. 
Also, a big part of my desk and room is about ambience, and lighting is key. The colored string lights are from TJMaxx, when I (might) have purchases a couple of goodies for myself while Christmas shopping.

I am absolutely in love with my dim-able salt lamp. I bring this baby to the bathroom when I take a bath too! :)

A big part of this year was (and still is) dedicated to healing chronic dis-alignment and tendonosis pain, and I find that this lamp can be soothing with quiet music (I've been big on listening to "hang drum" music lately). Do I believe it gives off healing powers from the Himalayan salt? Absolutely NOT. But creating an environment the encourages relaxation is what counts.
Fill your space with things that nurture your creativity and relaxation.  
Happy organizing, and Happy New Year!