opteka

Well, here it is: my finished Opteka. I am so in love. This was a really fun knit and I can see why Isabell Kraemer has such a devoted following. Her designs are amazing. I am really looking forward to wearing this out and about, I think its going to be a staple item in my fall/winter wardrobe. I used some local silk/alpaca sport weight yarn that I dyed with madder root last summer. It gives off this really nice halo effect, which you can sort of see in the bottom photo.

Truth be told, I finished this thing almost two months ago but it has been too dang hot to model for photos! We took these at 8:00 PM at night when the temperature has dropped to the low 90’s. I was outside for all of 15 minutes and I was sweating terribly toward the end. I’m glad I powered through though because I’ve been so excited to show everyone.

I have some more wips and finished objects to show off, but I have yet to take photos because of the heat. I’m going to try to do that over the next few week or so, probably after school starts. We will be starting school next Monday and for some reason this whole “hey, I’m homeschooling a first grader” thing is WAY more stressful than I thought it would be. It took me 6 hours to plan the first week. I’m not kidding. Once I figured out a plan, it took me less than an hour, but that first five and a half hours mostly consisted of me sitting cross legged on the floor with my laptop, frantically flipping through curriculums and researching books online into the late night hours. At one point I was certain that there was no way my son or myself were surviving this process without severe emotional scarring. I may or may not have overreacted a bit (read: yes). I’ll let everyone know how the first week goes. Wish us luck!

Just a pair of socks

Not much has happened in my little knitting world as of late. Temperatures here in central Texas are in the high nineties to low one hundreds and it’s just been too warm to comfortably knit any larger garments. My Opteka has been pushed to the side for now…at least until I can knit on it without serious thigh sweating (TMI? Perhaps). I finished my Two at a Time Sock class last week and I am now the proud owner of a pair of Speckled Space socks! I finished these socks in three weeks! That’s honestly a miracle (at least for me). I NEVER finish socks that quickly. I’m so done with a pattern by the time I finish the first sock that I never get around to knitting the second socks till about, oh, six months later, give or take a few months. The patterns really shows off the speckled yarn and I think they are so comfy. This yarn was so delightfully squishy. I have plenty leftover, so I will probably make a few shortie socks to use up whatever I have left. I included pictures of the caked up yarn because I think it is just so beautiful in both the knitted and unknitted states. Perhaps I will just sit the leftover caked yarn  on my dresser and stare at it…

The sock class also covered knitting from the toe up and the fish lips kiss heel. I’ve heard Molly from A Homespun House talk about the fish lips kiss heel on her podcast but this was the first time I’d ever tried it and I really like it. It’s a fun way of doing short rows, and I never liked picking up stitches for the gusset so the fact that I can omit this step using this method is definitely a plus in my book, but I am a bit concerned that the heel isn’t reinforced like it is when you knit a regular heel. I’m worried that the socks will wear through faster. I suppose only time will tell.

I treated myself to a little knitting notion splurge last month and I purchased some needle stoppers WHICH ARE AMAZING and these absolutely adorable progress keepers from a UK based Etsy store. This particular set is called Afternoon Tea and they include little tea pots, cups, saucers and tiny cakes and crumpets. I’m obsessed. If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve already seen some of the progress keepers but I’ll include their info below again along with the pattern and yarn info for this post.

Joining Ginny for her monthly Yarn Along. I missed participating in this. I love seeing what other makers are putting out into the world!

Pattern: Speckled Space Socks by Amanda Stephens

Yarn: Biscotte Yarns Lumos in Granite Rose (75% superwash merino, 20% nylon, and 5% stelina)

Progress Keepers: Afternoon Tea Stitch Markers by KoPoUK

Stitch Stoppers: Stitch Stoppers by CocoKnits

Fish lips Kiss tutorial found here

new school year and new hobbies

Hello friends, it’s been while.

September marks the end of our first summer in Texas. I have to admit, I had a hard time with the heat. August was just miserable, and I’m not far enough along to blame it on my pregnancy. I long for the warm summer days and cool nights that August typically brings in Washington. At one point the heat never seemed to end. It cooled down considerably two weeks ago and the days are finally hitting the low 80’s mark instead of the usual low 100’s. At one point I started frantically researching real estate in Idaho to see if it would be possible to own a summer home in less extreme temperatures.

Let’s just say I’m going to need to learn to adjust to the heat.

I’ve been assured by some women at the local yarn shop that the weather does indeed become cold enough for wool sweaters, and for that I am grateful.

We started our first official year of homeschooling last week. Sam is still learning his letters/sounds and I really like the program we chose, All About Reading. We are still using the pre-reading curriculum and supplementing with Bob books. We do basic counting and number recognition for Math, along with some memorization work of a weekly poem or nursery rhyme, which he performs in front of the family every week. Twice a week we will study science. I struggled finding a science curriculum that is both engaging and age appropriate for a 5 year old. I think I found it with Intro to Science by Elemental Science. Each unit is divided into 6 weeks with a weekly experiment. There is also a list of books for supplemental reading for each unit. Sam loves the science portion but doesn’t have much interest in learning his letters. I don’t want him to resent school time, so if I think I can hold his attention for five minutes learning a letter sound, I will, but otherwise we just end up reading for a half hour, which suits both of us just fine. I’m speaking of our homeschooling experience like we’ve been doing it for years but in reality we are only in our second week, but without any major meltdowns from mama or son, I’m declaring this year a success…for now.

Because I need more hobbies, I’ve become obsessed with natural dyeing. The muted colors that come from plants are stunning and I love the idea of using common plants to create a variety of colors and shades.  I found a local sheep farm that sells the most luxurious wool and I’ve been turning my kitchen into a makeshift dye lab. I’ve had one bad session with avocado stones…instead of a light pink, they turned my yarn into a disgusting flesh color that just plain creeped me out. Otherwise, my sessions have gone remarkably well. I adore every shade of purple that logwood creates and I also found a batch of prickly pears and dyed some sock yarn with them. There is little info on dying with prickly pears, other than what I could find on Ginny’s site, but with a bit of help from her I was able to create this lovely dusty rose color with different veins of pink throughout. It’s not a deep magenta like Ginny’s yarn, but I absolutely love it and plan on collecting more prickly pears before the season ends.

I’m using the logwood dyed yarn in worsted weight to knit the Antler cardigan for Eddie. I adore the cable pattern across the yoke and I plan on finishing it with yellow buttons to contrast the purple.

I’ve dyed more yarn than I need so I’ve decided to sell some on Etsy. I’m not looking to become a master yarn producer/dyer but if it helps supplement my yarn addiction hobby, then I will be happy.

It feels good to pop in and say hello. Happy Thursday, friends.

p.s. I forgot to mention that I’ve started experimenting with new scents for my homemade deodorant. I used to use only tea tree oil, but I became bored with that scent and decided to branch out. My newest batch was Lavender and Mandarin Orange. Anyone else experiment with homemade deodorant? What is your favorite recipe/scent combo?

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