Moving Forward

I had one heck of a day yesterday. Here’s how it went. I left for the old house and work. I got to the old house, realized I’d forgotten my keys. Drove back home, picked up the keys, called in to work to let them know I’d be late. Drove back to the old house then to work. I opened a project I’d been working on in a system I am unfamiliar with only to find that all the work I’d done the day before was not saved because rather than saving in one place, there are two save buttons in two different places on the same page and you have to press both of them to get the work to actually save. I’d had a massage scheduled, but my massage therapist was a no show. I texted her, and apparently she hadn’t bothered to put the date and time she had offered me on her calendar. I can’t say I was pleased, and I am afraid I wasn’t terribly afraid to show it as flakiness has been a reoccurring problem. It’s just that she’s SO GOOD, and the only one in the area I’ve found who can really tackle my specific cycling related muscle issues. I also spent 2 hours using the shop vac on the old house as well as cleaning.

By the time I got to my house, I was absolutely done in. So, I got the dishes done. Mr. Ink shows up and says “The day you just had and your way of dealing with it is to do the dishes?!?!” I said “I just need ONE THING to go right today!”

It’s going to be another busy few days, and so I figured what I really need is a project that’s easy and comfortable to work on. And, a good friend of mine had mentioned the baktus she had on the needles. I love a baktus scarf, but I haven’t done one in ages! So I started one last evening, and worked on it through lunchtime today, and now I’ve got a nice start on an easy and comfortable knit out of handspun yarn that’s been in my stash forever.


It’s a 3 ply. And I feel better already.

Weekend Recap

It’s been another busy weekend at Shells’. As you know, I blocked Lizard Ridge, but that really was just the beginning.

We’ve been working on settling into the house, of course. We have blue walls in the kitchen and dining room. I had originally really disliked that, but then I managed to find a matching tablecloth within my own linens stash, and suddenly the entire color scheme quit bothering me.


We’d spent a lot of time trying to rearrange the room to our liking, and have finally settled on something we prefer. So it was time to put away the china. But, once I started unwrapping it all, I realized that I really wanted everything clean, so 3 dishwasher loads later…..

We’ve had lovely sunny breakfasts, where I shot these photos of the old dog:

IMG_2911 IMG_2910

He rather likes it here.

We spent half of Saturday and all day Sunday cleaning out Mr. Ink’s family home, but Sunday evening we took a break to grill.


It was so nice to grill in our own back yard.

I got the remainder of the furniture for my craft room and set about organizing that space. It’s not done yet, but it’s getting there. It’s so close that I can actually sit in there now and do some spinning. Or plying, in this case:


That’s a 2 ply on the wheel, out of a fleece my friend Mary had processed at a mill, and I got a few ounces of.

I hope no one was as busy as we were this weekend, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. However, if you were, I hope it was a satisfying type of busy, like ours.

The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For

When I finished my Lizard Ridge, I’d already packed up my iron and I couldn’t steam block the border and seams. In addition to that, I wanted to get into our new house and arrange the bedroom before I actually used this beautiful blanket.


Pattern: Lizard Ridge

31 skeins of Noro Kureyon used for this blanket, that’s 3400 yards of Noro. The border is handspun CVM Romeldale in a 3 ply. I used 775 yards for that. I worked on this project on and off for just a few months shy of 4 years. It really is one of my crowing moments in my knitting/spinning career.


There are 6 strips rather than the 4 the pattern calls for, and each strip contains 6 blocks. Construction wise, I knit a block, cast it off, then picked up stitches for the next block for each strip. I then wet blocked all strips. For the seams, I picked up the same amount of stitches per block on each strip, then I used a 3 needle bind off for a stable seam and a seam that would create a bit of a border between the strips. For the border, I picked up stitches on each side, and increased at the beginning and end of every other row. I did not cast off, but left each side on a cable until all 4 sides were complete. I then did an icord bind off for the edge, which really does make it look professionally finished.

Today I steam blocked the entire thing to make it lay flat, and then put it on our bed.

I am so fortunate that Mr. Ink shares my love for color, unusual items, and art. We don’t feel this overwhelming need for the traditional, and when I shared with him my vision for our new house, he was on board completely. We shall fill our new home with color and art and things which are beautiful to us. It won’t be traditional, but it will be what soothes our souls, and that makes it home to us.

And we started with Lizard Ridge.

May Socks

Hello all! Long time no see! Or at least, long time no knit.

I finished my May socks today, and promptly snapped a shot of them on the back patio of the new house.


They look pretty good! And it’s nice to have a finished object to show off. I don’t anticipate another one for awhile. Unless it’s Lizard Ridge, which maybe I’ll have a chance to block this weekend? I hope?


There’s been no crafting whatsoever.

Instead, we spent the weekend, or rather, quite a few days, moving into our new home.

First there was closing. I’ve been living without a washing machine for at least 6 months now. I’d cart my laundry to Mr. Ink’s house and do laundry there on the weekends. However, the last weekend before the move was busy with his family in town, so I figured I’d wait until closing, load up my car with laundry, and head straight to the new house to use my new washer. Oddly, I found this to be a really thrilling prospect and I couldn’t WAIT to get there.

Once I did, I threw in a load of laundry, only to have our ejector pump fail and flood the basement. The basement is unfinished, so it’s not really a big deal, but it was quite distressing! Mr. Ink was able to fix it easily and it’s worked ever since.

After that, there was celebratory bourbon from Miss Marja:


Mr. Ink says “Whiskey’s for closers.” It was certainly a wonderful evening, we moved a bunch of boxes into the new house, and we unpacked a few of them, showed the empty house to some friends, and we were even treated to a celebratory meal, rather unexpectedly, by Mr. Ink’s son.

Thursday evening I did just a bit more moving and organizing. And then on Friday I got up quite early, moved a load to the new house, and set myself up to wait for the utility appointments. I snapped this shot of our retaining wall flowers early Friday morning.


It’s the only phlox on the wall, and I think we are going to have to find a way to add some more. That wall is just beautiful!

Friday consisted of finishing the packing of my house, and then working on Mr. Ink’s house. At midnight, we were moving aquariums and area rugs since we were both too excited to sleep.

And then Saturday was the big day! I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture of our crew, but we had a good one, consisting of hearty cyclists. Thank goodness, because it rained all day long. We moved from 9:30-5:30, it was a very long day. And once that was over, we had a new house that looked like it belonged on the show Hoarders. Not ones to stop there, we just kept working on the house all evening and got ourselves to a pretty good place by the time we went to bed.


I had pulled out all our combined spices and set them on the dining room table because I knew there would be many doubles. Two people who enjoy cooking combining households, it’s not surprising the table looked like this! Sunday morning I couldn’t sleep past 4:45 am, my excitement was too high, so I made a cup of coffee, started a load of laundry, and then set about organizing the spices. I enjoyed even that moment way too much!

The new house is still unorganized but it’s come a long way in a short time! Things I love:

-Having my two favorite people under one roof.

-Having Miss Bug on the same level as me, easy to go sit on her bed and chat with her while she plays, easy to tuck her in and wake her up, it’s quite pleasant.

-The previous owners, original to the house, left the entire history of the house with us in a box. All associated paperwork. It’s wonderful! I went through it yesterday and got to get acquainted with the history of my home, and the land it sits on. I now know every time the roof has been replaced, and every update ever done to the home, every insurance claim they filed, it really is a tiny treasure box and I am so glad they entrusted me with it!

The one thing I have not enjoyed? Organizing my craft room. You’d think that would be something I’d just adore! But not so. I feel completely overwhelmed when I try to work on it. I am convinced this is because crafting just has too many tiny bits and bobs to find a place for. It’s overwhelming! And, I don’t have all my storage furniture in the new house yet. There are still two pieces yet to arrive. So, while some things get put away, the boxes still feel like they are piling up. Or maybe it’s just because the rest of the house is still in such a state that I am not yet inspired about it. We’ll see what happens later.

But the rest of this week? I have to clean the old place out. What a drag!!!

Not as Colorful

Yesterday I worked on some very colorful spinning. But, in my spare moments I’ve been working on something less colorful, though still just as rich.


Back when I purchased my grey CVM/Romeldale fleece, the one I spun up for the border of Lizard Ridge, my friend Mary purchase a CVM Romeldale fleece from the same shop. She wasn’t as enamored with the idea of processing her own fleece, and she’d found a mill she wanted to try. So she sent most of hers out to the mill, while I kept mine at home and did the dirty work myself.

I ended up trading her for some of her mill roving from that fleece. It’s been sitting in my stash for a couple years. And I craved something that I could work on that I’d not have to worry about colors with. So I pulled this one out.

I am telling you, it spins so fast! It’s lofty and bouncy and since it’s actual roving, it lends itself perfectly to long draw. The speed with which I am spinning this is just astounding! And makes me think that in the future, when I have a fleece, sending it out to a mill is absolutely a lovely option.


Awhile back I started on my 3 feet of sheep fiber, spinning it into energized singles in anticipation of creating a collapse weave at some point in the future.

I got sidetracked with other spins, and then knew I’d be putting away my loom for a bit. Now that I am close to having a dedicated craft space, I decided to work on some more of the singles.


I love the rich colors of these small colored bumps.


Some of the wool is of a grey variety, and there’s silk mixed in, so despite the wool being mostly one color, there’s always beautiful variations on that color running through my hands.


Which makes it a very pleasing spin!

This is where I stop for now, I’ll start the project in the upcoming weeks, then spin more if necessary.

Anticipation Versus Reality.

I dyed some BFL in a colorway I was copying from a bump of fiber on a destash board I desperately wanted. I figured better to make my own with the tools I have than to purchase yet more stash. It took me awhile to get around to spinning it, and I did so over quite a long period of time.

The entire time, I thought for sure it was going to be the ugliest yarn ever spun. I was anticipating overdyeing it because I thought it would be so very ugly.


And then I plied it, and magic happened. In reality, it’s lovely. My anticipation was so far away from reality that I can’t help but be surprised every time I look at the completed yarn!

This is a 3 ply, and I’ve only got 162 yards. Not a whole lot to work with. That’s ok, it’s just going in stash for now anyhow. Where hopefully it will remind me regularly that anticipation and reality are two different things most of the time.

First May Sock

Socks really are The Thing when you need a project you don’t have to think too hard about. Amazingly enough, I got one sock done!


I did an afterthought heel in the blue I used for Mr. Ink’s socks so that they’d kind of match. I’ll still have plenty of yarn to switch out heels or toes if I wear through them. My stripes are mismatched on this sock, and they’ll be in proper order on the other sock. But, I don’t consider this even remotely problematic. I wasn’t going for matchy!


Up next? More 3 ply yarn. I have finished spinning another bump, and I’ll have time to ply it on Saturday.

Wool and Flax Part 2

I did finish my second skein of wool and flax blend this week. It took a full two days to dry since we are having some wet and heavy weather. The first skein was done on a warm, sunny, windy day and dried in no time at all. This one I’ve been forced to wait a long time for.

But, it’s done! I have 195 yards of 2 ply on this one, which is nice and close to the 205 yards on the blue skein. I’d say they are about even in thickness as well, which will make them a very nicely matched set.


I am still spinning quite a bit! But, I am currently working on a project I don’t love. Sadly, it’s a project from BFL that I dyed myself. However, my dye skills are extremely lacking, especially when it comes to wool top, so it isn’t surprising that I am not loving a bump of my own fiber. That being said, it remains to be seen how it will look once it’s done. It could be lovely! I am going to make it a 3 ply, and then if it doesn’t look great, I’ll consider overdyeing it.


(I’ve only just noticed that I seem to be enjoying quite a bit of orange in my fiber lately.)

At the moment, I actually feel like I am spinning with a bit of an obsession. I’d left a certain amount of fiber out of the packed boxes to work through before the move. I am on the last bump of that fiber. I can easily access more, but I think this may hold me. Starting Saturday, we are pretty much full speed ahead with family in town, various planned activities, and then the move.

I admit, I just can’t wait to get my craft room and craft area set up! I look forward to getting everything organized, and then taking pictures and showing it off. Not much longer now….

May Socks

I’ve been doing a ton of spinning lately. Almost exclusively. But, I’ve kept my May sock in my purse, and I’ve knit on it when I get the opportunity. And often at work. And it shows! Because I’ve worked past the placement for the afterthought heel now.


These aren’t going to match at all, quite frankly. Because I’ve messed with the stripe pattern a ton. I used scraps and kept switching the stripe pattern around. But, that’s ok, I am quite comfortable with socks that don’t match! I also think I am going to love them a lot, I really enjoy the color combinations on this yarn! Opal just doesn’t fail!

Wool and Flax

Over the weekend I finished plying my wool/flax combination. I ended up with 200 yards of 2 ply yarn.


A serious hot water wash and a good thwack really did soften up the flax quite a bit.

We also did some egg dyeing and created little monster eggs over the weekend, that was good fun indeed!


Because I got in a good groove with the spinning of the wool/flax blend, I decided to spin up my second bump immediately. No sense trying to struggle with it again after I’ve forgotten how to make it work!


This bump is a great combo of warm orange and red, which is a huge change from the cool blues and greens on the first bump.

All my crafting seems spinning related lately. It probably has something to do with it really feeling like spring is in the air!

Mint Chocolate

I’ve always liked brown paired with green in various tones, but by and large my favorite is brown with a minty green, like mint chocolate chip ice cream.

I certainly got that color combination with my dyeing arts superwash merino fiber I purchased at a local guild show in November.


I finished plying yesterday, and it dried overnight. Now I’ve got 230 yards of 3 ply minty chocolate toned yarn. Very nice!

Even better, I finished plying another skein yesterday, but didn’t get a chance to skein it until this morning. So, I’ll get to post another skein tomorrow. I love spring spinning!

More Singles

I finished the wool/flax singles the other day, and set them aside to ply today. Then I picked up some superwash merino I already had begun, and worked on that a bit.


Since it’s fairly close to being done as well, I think there’s a fair chance I can also finish this project over the weekend.

Meanwhile, I seem to be avoiding the 3 baby knits I need to crank out in the very near future. 😦

April Socks

My April Socks got finished on April 1. Mostly because I didn’t have anything else on the needles at home.

This pair is another for my mom. I did the typical style I generally do for her socks, but, I added an afterthought heel instead of the regular heel. Just because when I was knitting them, I was on the go and had already packed my pattern book that gives me the heel instructions for that particular sock.

The yarn is Opal, which I love for a hard wearing pair of socks.


My May socks I started this morning. I am knitting them out of reclaimed yarn. Originally I’d knit a pair of shorty socks out of this yarn, but they never fit correctly, and I’d saved the remainder of the skein. So, awhile back I frogged the shorty socks and decided to knit something else with them.

First, I used that yarn for the heels and toes of Mr. Ink’s socks. Then, I weighed the remainder. I’ll knit toe up socks with an afterthought heel using the remainder of the yarn. For the heels, I will use the remainder of the dark blue from Mr. Ink’s socks.


And fortunately for me, this can take an entire two months! Plus, it’s going to be fairly mindless knitting, so I can keep the sock with me on the go and work on it when I get an opportunity without worrying about a pattern. Perfect choice for this particular month.

Interesting Combination

I picked up some 50/50 wool/flax fiber on a destash board on Ravelry awhile back. I haven’t had much of an opportunity to spin with it, but finished a spindle full awhile back. Well, this fiber happens to be one of the projects left untouched by my packing obsession, since it’s currently already begun, and so I figured I’d keep at it. I am just about finished now, with just a short amount left to spin.


Then, I’ll ply this weekend, and start on my second color of the stuff.

To be honest, the blend is pretty tough to spin. Or, maybe I should just say it takes some getting used to. I have to spin far slower with it, it requires less twist than most of my wool blends, and if too much twist is in there, the resulting kinks are quite hard and scratchy. However, once I get into a groove, it goes ok. But, probably not something I’ll pick up again unless I have a very specific project in mind for it.