Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Finishing Body of the Shawl

After two days of knitting I am 7 rows to the end of the main body. Once that is done I start on the lace work in the morning. I am excited about that as it is the part I enjoy the most.

So far this has been an easy knit, and will make a wonderful first shawl for someone that is wanting to build confidence. I will be passing this pattern on to my sister as I teach her how to knit.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cross Country Shawl say one.

I started my Shawl this morning,Though a two hours in, saw I had made a mistake. I frogged it and restarted. Now it is looking great.

This pattern I am using is Seraphin Shawl. And using Merino ORO Black Lace yarn. I am very excited about this shawl already as it is soft as a cloud once knit. Stay Tuned for more updates on my Cross Country Shawl.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cross Country Shawl

We are embarking on a cross-country move (again) on the 25th of March. I have been pondering what project to work on for this 4 day drive. My project up until this point has been a pair of socks, though I am nearly finished with sock #1, and would have made the second in a day. I really like the idea of having a project that i start and finish all on the drive without it leaving large gaps of time.

So after much thought I am going to be working on another Shawl. My last one was very fun and is beautiful. I am hoping to have the same sort of results with this new project.

I will be taking photos of my project along the way. Believe it or not I hope to start the piece as we leave Salt Lake City on Sunday Morning and  finish this by our arrival on Thursday in Hickory North Carolina.

We are making this a four day trip rather than the 3 we made it in last time. So barring bad weather (no light, or more frequent driver changes) I should have nearly 4 days of uninterrupted knitting. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Stash Bash Time.

If you are like me, over the winter you collect yarns and fibers at a much faster rate. Lets face it, this is the time that you want to be curled up by the fire, stitching to a good movie. However come spring, while you may have a pile of finished projects, you also have a swollen stash.


Spring is a great time to look through your yarns and clean out the ones that are no longer going to be used. As we all know, there are many times you have gotten buyers remorse. Or worse yet, someone brings you a Ton of yarn, from their clean up, and you think you will use it. We yarnaholics are an optimistic bunch. Of course we will be able to make 5 sweaters, 15 scarves, a shawl and a dozen pair of socks that would be needed to use this offered bags of yarn. The question is though, while this may be true, will you do it before you find better yarn you want to make something else with?

As my husband and I are moving I have been contemplating my stash. I find that I was in denial about my own. I keep a basket beside our armchair that held all of my yarns (not fiber though). When I introduced the basket I did a stash busting project for a local yarn bombing event of making a 300 Foot Scarf. This reduced me to one basket of yarn, or so I thought. It seems in the bowels of my craft closet the little yarn balls were reproducing. While packing all my fabrics I found 3 garbage bags full of yarn. All yarn I would not use, I had been moving around with for years.

So this time they are not even being opened, and all going to a local charity. This cleanse was great for the spirit and my closet. I recommend that everyone take the time to look at your stash and go through it. What you do with the yarns may depend. You could make a stash bashing project like my scarf, though then you have to have the willpower not to buy yarn until the project is finished. Or you can pick out those less desirable (you know the ones) yarns and offer them to your local guild for trade, a charity, or other groups.

One great result of a smaller stash, you get to buy new yarn now. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Softer Side of Life.

Many people will agree that one thing that has always remained is an interest in the fiber arts. While this has gone from a functional activities to one of pleasure for most thanks to technology the traditions have continued and even increased.

I recall when I was younger sitting by the window with my grandmother as she taught me to crochet. I was never very good, I could make dish cloths, and a few other very simple things. Though I always knew there was more to it. When I was in collage I once again put my hook to work. This time I was going to learn to do it right.

Since that time I have learned how to also knit and spin my own yarn. While many see these as skills of the past I have come to notice that the number of people that enjoy these activities is growing.

Why in a day of cell phone’s, Internet, and Discount Clothing on every corner would we take the time to fashion our own clothing? Well any person that is already stitching will tell you it is not always about the product, but about the methods. Many of us work is stress filled environments, running around and being over stimulated with emails, and phone calls. However the act of sitting down and using your hands to make something purely as a luxury moves our busy minds from 700 mile an hour fast lane, to the gently curving scenic route.
But why did people start? How to they learn?

Well this is not the world our grandparents grew up in, were Mom or Grandma taught you at her knee anymore. Rather most people these days use the same technology that threatened to phase out this craft, to spread the word. Online is the idea place to find everything you need to know about fiber arts. Web sites like Youtube and Ravelry offer videos and tutorials. While Amazon offers books and kits on the subject. Yarn store while a luxury in a downed economy are having a better time of functioning with the ability to advertise online, or even sell products online.

Sites like Etsy offer crafters a chance to sell their wares from their home, and reduce overhead. It also opens the market to products that in the past were hard to come by. Fibers that were only found in set regions of the world are now only a click away, opening the market from simply wool, cotton, and acrylic to such fibers as alpaca, angora, Buffalo, cashmere, bamboo, silk, seacell and much more.

Many of these sites also offer teams and groups so that people can meet and share ideas. Many events have spawned off this such as Knit/Spin in Public Day, Fiber arts markets, and much more. Guilds that were dwindling but vital in the continuation of the traditions are now rejuvenated with new generations that found the art through their new media methods.

Today you are no longer stuck with only what could be found at your local Walmart, or for lucky ones in your yarn shops. Even the selection in your shops are better as they too have more access to finer products, and hand spun yarns.

Thanks to the Internet boom for fiber arts people are even raising their own livestock such as rabbits, goats, sheep, lamas, and alpaca to meet demand or to supplement their own stocks. Though that is another topic all together.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Why a Green Clean?

We think very often that green is only to political correct or to go along with a “hippy” lifestyle. However if you are like me it is more about the fact that someone in your home (my husband) has a sensitivity to most smells including cleaning supplies.

I also like the fact that these methods reduce the amount indoor pollution. Government studies have proven that the average home pollution is higher then that of outdoor pollution on a med risk day. Some of the things that are to be taken into consideration:

  • Lack of Ventilation
    • Most homes do not have a great amount of ventilation to help move the air out of the home.
  • Second Hand Smoke
    • This smoke dose not go just at my lungs, it also lingers in the air and on surfaces.
  • Dust, Dander, and Dust Mites.
    • The average home has one pound of this form of pollution for approximately every 37 square feet of the home.
  • Cleaning Supplies
    • What many people only think of as a smell from bleach, ammonia and other solvents is actually harmful pollution.

These and many other aspects are things that should be taken into account when you are planning to clean your home. As most Americans spend 80-90% of their lives indoors it is important to know what it is that you surround yourself with.

Most of these indoor problems can be solved with planning, regular airing and cleaning of your home, and a change in your cleaning routine/products.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Why it's Good for You

Here are some of the natural oils and other ingredients that I put in my products, and what benefits they bring your skin.

Shea Butter: This well known moisturizer has many hidden talents as well. Not only dose it absorb quickly into skin to repair and protect dry and damaged skin it also has healing benefits. In addition to Vitamins A, E, and F Shea Butter has long been used for wounds as it has a natural anti-bacterial property.

Cocoa Butter: Once again we see out Vitamins being offered in this butter, though more importantly Cocoa also offers a high amount of antioxidants that help rejuvenate the skin and slow the aging process. Also this product is often recommended for scars and stretchmarks.

Avocado Oil: This oil rivals Fish oil in the amount of Omega 3 that can be obtained from it, not to mention Vitamins A, D, and E. All of this is known to sooth and soften skin that is dry or aging, even reducing wrinkles. However the benefits do not stop there, Avocado oil is also known to increase the production of collagen, helps relieve eczema and solar keratosis, and speeds in the healing of burns as it is a deep penetrating oil.

Grapeseed Oil: Like all the other oils this one is high in Vitamins and antioxidants. It slows the signs of aging and is good for all skin types. It is often chosen as it is very effective against inflammation and other wonderful helpful uses.

Walnut Oil: Walnut has many special qualities that can be used to enhance our natural health. Helps inflammation, anti aging, better skin.

Olive Oil: Eczema care, deep moisturizing, and skin care.

Bees Wax: For hundreds of years beeswax has been used in skin care, even before we knew the reasons it was obvious that it protected from inflammation of the skin. It also has in its unrefined forms antibacterial and antiviral benefits that are both of benefit to the skin. Along with its ability to draw moisture to the skin and seal close to the surface.

What it's Made of

I always find it good to know what it is we are using in our homes and on our bodies. I have given the ingredients for my products below. I always strive to buy my supplies from local producers, along with the highest quality.

Felted Soap
Soap Base
Shea Butter
Cocoa Butter
Avocado Oil
Grape Seed Oil
Walnut Oil
Alpaca Fiber (not wool)

Lip Balm
Bees Wax
Shea Butter
Cocoa Butter
Avocado oil
Grape Seed Oil
Vitamin E

Wood Wax
Bees Wax
Paraffin Wax
Olive Oil

Salt Scrub
Avocado Oil
Grapeseed Oil
Natural Scent

Organic Fibers (As Listed)