Since moving to Portland last summer, I hadn’t touched my spinning wheel. Here’s the last bobbin I spun in SF.

Maybe I wasn’t sure where I was in the progress of this braid of roving- maybe that kept me from it? Well, I took the wheel out of the closet today and this awaited me.

Ahhhh isn’t it pretty??? I spun while watching a movie with the kids, and before I knew it, I had this:

It looks like I spun more tightly on the second bobbin, but I imagine things will even out in the plying and washing.

It feels nice to pick up a project that hasn’t been loved in a while! Now I think I’ll see how much I can ply before I need to sleep. Note: I’ve always let the singles “rest,” but tonight I think I’ll throw caution to the wind and see what happens.

Happy crafting!

Design process

Since September or so, I’ve been drawing designs for t-shirts and accessories for sale on my Threadless.com shop (henryx4.threadless.com). It’s been a lot of fun and I love bringing my ideas into fruition.

A day or so ago, during a regularly-scheduled Portland winter rain, I thought of Gene Kelly in “Singin’ in the Rain,” and I thought of Totoro reveling in the raindrops making a loud noise on dad’s umbrella, and voila, a new idea was born.

I thought I’d share my design process with you today! Since buying an art tablet, I often skip the paper sketch, but today that’s where I started.

First I sketched a general idea of my layout:

Then I drew it on the tablet. I had to change the size of the bus stop sign to accommodate Totoro, and I used the “rotate image” feature to get the angle of his body just right. I had to draw the legs several times to get his left leg higher than the right so it would make sense to have it in the air.

I added color, then text:

Then I added raindrops. I decided to use the same color as the bus stop sign to keep the palette simple.

Finally, the design was ready for publishing on Threadless!

New Year

Happy new year! It’s been an interesting week for me, craft-wise. I’ve felt a little burned out from holiday crafting, so I’ve only been crocheting granny squares and mending clothing since Christmas. I think it’s due to wanting to start fresh, without mending hanging over my head and feeling overwhelmed by my overflowing yarn scrap basket. So here’s what I’ve been doing.

I love how the granny squares are snapshots of other projects. It’ll be akin to a memory quilt.

Mending-wise, I’ve done some socks and pants, but these are my faves so far!

My son had wee tears all over these pants, which are lined, so I decided to make patches. In most cases, I ironed a hem before sewing them down by hand. I also did a bit of quilting-like stitching for durability and so the fabric would stay in place. I LOVE these pants and wish they were mine!

I’ve been thinking about clothing and sustainability lately, and have come to the firm decision that mending is important to me. I want to mend our clothing until we have to replace things, and in that case, I want to head to the thrift stores instead of purchasing new (with some exceptions such as sneakers and underwear).

Craft wise, ideally I’ll work from stash as much as possible. That’s generally the case, but it beats repeating, if only to remind myself.

Other than those two ideas, my only other resolution-like thought for the year is to learn to double-knit!

What are your thoughts at the beginning of this new year?

Knitters’ gift exchange

Being a part of a knitting community is so awesome. There are so many benefits- social time, shared knowledge, problem-solving…. then there are special events!

My group in San Francisco has an annual stash exchange, which is so much fun! The group I feel closest to here in Portland has a Gift Exchange. It’s run like a white elephant, but with quality goods.

I didn’t expect to be able to attend (sadly, my husband’s work schedule isn’t conducive to knit nights), but I appealed to a nephew and he covered childcare so I could attend. Yay! It was so fun! I’ve experienced swaps where there’s lots of “stealing” and such intrigue, but this was some kind of blessed exchange in which people were magically getting items perfectly suited to them, no stealing needed!

I myself ended up with a cute, locally made bag, local vegan truffles, a stitch saver (interestingly, local to where I moved from), and reusable/metal straws. All very suitable for me, and there wasn’t a gift I felt like stealing. What a fun evening!

I should think about making a monthly or so deal with the nephews so I can attend knit night, eh? It’s so good for the soul.

Happy knitting!

Sneak peek

Obviously I can’t show any FOs before Christmas, but here’s a shot of the inside of something I’m working on, because I think the inside of color work is amazing!

More soon! Happy knitting!

Tiny Jayne hat!

I found this free pattern on ravelry for this Jayne hat brooch. I don’t need a brooch, but I wanted it for a Christmas tree ornament. I swear it took less than half an hour!

It’s so cute! I might redo the Pom Pom though, as I just improvised this one, and it could be nicer.

I hope I find time to make more ornaments this year!

Happy knitting, friends!