2

The Lowdown on Slowdown

I saw Passengers the other day with my super knitty pal Troy. Having not seen any real trailers about the movie beforehand, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really really liked it.  It doesn’t hurt that Chris Pratt is pretty dreamy in an old-fashioned, boy-next-door kinda way. As a six degrees of separation side note, my sister-in-law went to high school with him (!). I sure don’t remember any guys at my high school lookin’ like that…… (Sssshhhh… don’t tell R. Darling I said that – we went to high school together!). Granted, lots of dudes get better with age ;)

Anyway, daydreams aside, I was struck by a particular scene in the movie and have been thinking about it ever since.  Jim Preston (Pratt’s character) is asked why he would choose to spend 120 years in hibernation in order to start a new life on an unknown colony far from the life he knew on Earth. He thinks about it for a moment and then says that back on Earth, when something breaks, it is replaced instead of being fixed. As someone who works with his hands for a living, he implies that he wants a simpler life where we value what we create. When I think about what a life like that would mean, I envision a place where people would live more intentionally. We would care more about the things we were doing and the people with whom we chose to populate our lives. Mindfulness, I believe it’s called.

Top to Bottom: Chrysanthemum, ?, Bellini

Top to Bottom: Chrysanthemum, ?, Bellini

I have been stuck on this thought ever since.  And not just because of the pretty face and slick Hollywood film that brought it up. It’s not a new thought, and certainly not unique to my existence.  It’s easy enough to define, but more difficult to apply to every day life. But I know I need it.

I was listening to The Minimalists‘ Podcast the other day and they described an exercise they have asked people to do in the past that allows them some clarity when reflecting on what’s important in their lives and what would really make them happy. On a sheet of paper, you write “Today” and list all the things you need or want to do today.  All the stuff that feels important at this moment.  Turn the paper over and title that side “Someday”.  Write down all the things you want to do someday. Now, what would happen if you switched the titles of the two sides?  If “Someday” became “Today”? Would your life be richer, more-fulfilled, and have more meaning?  I think yes.

So I am finding ways to make “someday” into “today”.  I dyed yarn 3 days this week and developed 3 new colors for the Etsy shop.  Normally that would have fallen under “someday” but I made the choice it would be today and I am so much happier for it. And people, happy is really where it’s at.

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1

Violet Valentine is Open for Business on Etsy!

Violet-Valentine-Etsy-Banner


Hooray!  I finally did it!

After talking about it for years, I have finally opened an Etsy shop.  You can find Violet Valentine here.

I am still working out the bugs, but I have many sets of handmade stitch markers listed, a few notion pouches, and a few knitting bags.  I hope to keep adding to the inventory as I make things. The focus will be mainly knitting and crocheting accessories for right now, but I expect to add some new types of items in the not-so-distant future, as well as destash some of my knitted items or crafting supplies.  So check back often!

As always, thanks SO very much to everyone who stops, visits, comments, or otherwise supports me, the blog, and all my endeavors!  You have no idea how much your support means to me and how instrumental you have all been in helping me realize some of my creative dreams.  Infinite thanks to each and every one of you!!


violet-valentine-etsy-avatar

5

Wired

So Stash Dash 2015 wrapped up on Friday. For some reason I was thinking I had until August 22nd, not that it would have made any difference in my totals.  If this would have been a real race, I would have tripped at the starting line and nursed my road rash until the first aid station, whereupon I would have probably called it quits and gone for margaritas. Not that I normally do that sort of thing, but I strangely admire people who can. Instead of knitting to the last minute I spent the entire week last week not knitting at all, but instead perfecting a new skill that I’ve become entirely (and dangerously) obsessed with: wire wrapping.

pumpkins colored 2

My poor husband. At least every 15 minutes I run over to him squealing like a an 11 year old girl at a Taylor Swift concert, “Look what I made!  Isn’t it cuuuuuuuute?”. I can’t help myself.  I am disgustingly pleased at the little stitch markers I am cranking out for my new Etsy shop (hopefully opening in a month or two after Knittymunchkin is fully immersed in all day kindergarten). I took a metalworking seminar a very long time ago and we touched briefly on wire working. At the time it wasn’t as appealing to me as the other techniques I was interested in learning, though once the acetylene torches came into play in the second half of the class, those low-tech pliers and wire were looking a lot more my speed. Frankly, the torches pretty much freaked me out.  I learned to do it, but I wasn’t comfortable. It’s kind of a buzzkill when they tell you the stuff will blow up the entire studio and vaporize you instantly if not used properly. So have fun with that kids! Interestingly, I noticed when I backtracked to the link above, that I mentioned making stuff for Etsy as far back as 2007! It feels pretty good to think that I’m finally (hopefully) heading there.

But back to Stash Dash…..

My unofficial total meterage for the event was: 1257.5 meters. I say “unofficial” because I finished a couple other projects during the competition that I never photographed or blogged about. But despite not making my goal, I am really grateful that Knitting Up North brought the event to my attention. It really forced me to focus on stash and though I went about it all the wrong way (not finishing old stuff, but starting new stuff), I still managed to use up some of my stash and worked extra hard to find projects that would utilize yarn I already had.  I also really focused on finishing what I’d started, rather than starting something new whenever I saw something shiny out of the corner of my eye. I have a feeling this could be the start of some new habits for me!

In the meantime…..

Look what I made? Isn’t it cuuuuuuuuute?

flat skulls 1

lime slices 2

 

4

Thinning The Nest: Thursday Number 9

Week 9:  All about yarn!

Yeah, so somehow it got to be March 1st already.  And somehow it is also Thursday again.  It keeps creeping up on me and I keep thinking I’ll be prepared, or at least a little excited about having something to say.  Nope.  Still have the blog-writing blues.

So today it will be short and simple.  This week I sold a ball of yarn: 350 yds out the do’!  That was a nice feeling.  For about 5 minutes.  And then I went and spent all that dough on a swapless mini swap.  Oy.  This mini business is turning into a serious problem.  I’ve also been stalking the Random Acts of Kindness Group on Ravelry again.  It’s been surprising me how many things I have right now that I can actually gift to people.  I love the feeling of doing something nice for someone else!  I’m afraid that’s a little addicting in itself, so I have to cool it.  It’s not like I have tons of extra cash for the packages I’ve been sending at least once a week (between swaps, books & RAK’s).  But perhaps the goal of ridding myself of something once a week has something to do with this new obsession.  As a side bonus I am using recycled packaging and recycled tissue paper etc. to wrap and send everything out for the most part.  A clutter-clearing bonanza!  Anyway, I found a very sweet lady who was looking for some Patons Grace.  I happened to have two balls in my stash, one in the “Rose” colorway and one in “Tangelo”.  I loved the colors and would have been happy to use them up for something, but I’m pretty bad with one-skein projects (never can seem to find any good ones) unless they are hats or mittens.  And I’ve got more than enough yarn for those!  So I gifted her those two  yarns as well as a straight needle roll I got as a freebie from some magazine about a billion years ago.  This feels pretty great!

I did get a little discouraged earlier this week when I went on a magazine hunting expedition through the house.  While my yarn is pretty well organized, my magazines are only half-heartedly so, and it is sometimes a challenge to find a specific issue of something when I want a pattern.  The issue in question was Interweave Knits, Fall 2009.  I have become obsessed with the Slanting Gretel Tee pattern and have just settled on the perfect stash yarn for it.  I looked for it in all of my “usual” nooks and crannies, to no avail.  So this meant a lengthy dig through the dark recesses of the sty that is THE GARAGE.  I suited up for extended deep box-diving and held my breath.  It was so depressing that I can’t even begin to describe it without maybe shedding a little bit of a tear.  Boxes and boxes of stuff I need to go through.  With what time?  I know.  It’s disheartening.  But after about 7 boxes, I hit paydirt.  Magazine unearthed!  In the process I also grabbed about 8 fitness magazines from 2008 that were stuffed in the same box, totally unread, and unceremoniously dumped them in the recycle bin on my way back inside.  So it wasn’t really sizable progress, but it was better than just stuffing them back in the box, right?  A little at a time.  It’s all I can do.

And because I can’t seem to find a picture of either of the yarns I RAK’d, I’ll have to leave you with a completely different off-topic shot for the day.  Check out these supa awesome buttons I bought at this etsy shop recently (the shop owner is a total sweetheart)!  It’s totally counter-productive that I bought them, since I have no idea what I’ll use them for, but I had to have them.  They make me happy!

Sugar Skulls!

9

Love….

Love, thy name is Hexipuff.

 

Hexipuffs!


 
Ever since my lovely friend Jess bought me the The Beekeeper’s Quilt pattern and we agreed to knit it together for “however long”, I have been undeniably enamored with this charming little project.  Hexipuffs are smooshy, and squooshy, sweet and cute.  And each one is a little mini FO that you can pat and poke and imagine occupying its future spot in your darling little quilt.
 
At first I thought I wouldn’t dare touch my enormous sock yarn stash.  I mean, that’s for socks, right?  So being short on sock yarn scraps, I scoured etsy, and found someone selling minis.  Then I scoured Ravelry and found another.  A few bucks later and I was in business!  Then I joined a swap at the Sanguine Gryphon Group on Ravelry.  Lucky for me, there was one for newbies that didn’t fill up about 2 seconds after it was posted.  I swear those SG people are fanatics (me included, mwah-ha-ha!).  It’s hard to get in on a destash or a swap because things disappear before you can say “flapjack”.  Sadly, The Sanguine Gryphon is no more in a few short days.  But that’s a big boo hoo for another day :(  I’d say my bank account would breathe a ginormous sigh of relief if it weren’t for the fact that they are dissolving into two new dye studios and I’m afraid that means twice the amount of temptation!
 
I also discovered that the very talented Didi (creator of Little Red Bicycle; whom I got to meet at Sock Summit 2011 for the first time after “knowing” her for a few years online) had a mini-skein club going.  What better way to support a friend, and a mini-skein habit, than by signing up?  I’ve already received October and November, am waiting on December, and have signed up for another 3 months of January – March 2012.  Everything I’ve received so far has been gorgeous!  I can’t wait to make puffs out of them, and I am just stunned by her beautiful sense of color.
 

October 2011 Mini-skein Club from Little Red Bicycle


 

November 2011 Mini-Skein Club from Little Red Bicycle


 
Finally, after a little contemplation of my stash, I decided there were definitely some fingering weight sock yarns that I could (and should) part with.  I had a few smaller skeins that weren’t enough for a full pair of socks anyway and I didn’t have immediate plans for them.  Nor was I sure they’d look good on a larger scale.  That’s the nice thing about the Hexipuffs.  You can use some of your loudest or even – dare I say it – ugliest yarns, and they don’t look so bad on a small scale.
 
Flush with so many choices, I am working steadily on this project.  I know it will take me years to make enough to fill out a quilt, but each time I finish one I get a tiny spark of satisfaction.  They are the perfect little fillers for when Knittymunchkin is in his high chair eating a snack, or when he is playing independently (however briefly) and I have a spare moment without him clinging to my leg.  They are simple, elegant, and can be put down at a moment’s notice without losing your place.  In case you didn’t already guess…. I love Hexipuffs!
 
Because I’ll be working on this for the rest of my natural life (most likely) I think it would be fun to do a little gallery each month of the puffs that I’ve knit.  I’ve been keeping count and I knit anywhere from 10 – 25 of these in any given month.  So a little retrospective might be fun.  January is just days away (how did that happen?) so I think I’ll start after I’ve knit January’s puffs.
 
Until then, Happy Holidays!  May your days be merry & bright :)

5

Morgiana’s Manifesto Shop Shout Out

chocolate sea earrings1

Lovely “Chocolate Sea” earrings from the Morgiana’s Manifesto shop
Made with: Silver wire, Shell & Rainbow Jasper

 

Check it out – it’s a shop shout out to my good friend Kasia!  She’s opened her own etsy shop called Morgiana’s Manifesto and I’ve been meaning to give her some props here on the blog since she opened it back in September.  Her shop specializes in “handmade jewelry with a mystic twist”.  And if you visit, you’ll notice that most of the lovely earrings available have names referring to mythical or fairytale ladies of lore.  She sent me the darling pair of earrings pictured above over the summer as a nice surprise to go with my chocolate Lelah (which is still sadly, hibernating).  There are so many attractive varieties to suit every personality (or outfiit) in her shop.  Don’t you want to stop by for a peek?  Soon, she’ll be adding some lovely flower barrettes to the shop as well.  I’d love to get my hands on one of these (you can see a photo of her wearing one on her blog) because who doesn’t need a lovely flower in their hair to celebrate springtime?  Be sure to drop by for a visit and have fun deciding which one’s your favorite! 

7

Hazel Knits Shout Out

hazelknitstulipfull

Mmmm…… squishity Tulip-y yarny goodness from Hazel Knits

Check it out – it’s a shop shout out to my Pacific Northwest pal Wendee! She’s opened her own etsy shop called Hazel Knits, specializing in hand-dyed yarn and “luxury-with-whimsy” handcrafted stitch markers. And, even better, the Yarn Harlot has been knitting socks with her yarn! You can read about it on the Yarn Harlot’s blog here and here. Now don’t you want to run out and get yourself some? You can sign up for the mailing list on the Hazel Knits blog, and I figure you’ll want to because who knows how long her yarn will last in the shop! She’s doing a major shop update tomorrow (Friday, October 26) with loads of new colors and more of her coveted Sailor’s Delight colorway, part of the proceeds of which goes to Doctors Without Borders. I’m guessing you’ll want to snap that one up as soon as you can because it seems to be her most popular colorway with a gorgeous blend of “garnet, pumpkin, rust, and pomegranate”, evocative of a fiery summer sunset. But don’t fret, if you don’t get there in time, she can special dye you a batch if you send her an e-mail or convo her on etsy.

hazelknitsstitchmarkers

How sweet are these?

She sent me a sweet little package for my birthday and I got the yarn pictured above in the “Tulip” colorway and these lovely stitch markers to go with it! The stitch markers are almost too pretty to use and the yarn is so super-squishy! I am hoarding it for the perfect pattern. Hurry up and get yours and share in the yarny love!  There will be a new color each month in the shop, so have fun deciding which one’s your favorite!