Thursday, March 31, 2011

Where are they now?

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There are two projects that come to mind when I think of "Where are they now?"  The first is a felted backpack.  I got this wild idea several years ago.  It is about 85% finished.  All that remains is a flap for the closure and the straps.  I even have the yarn to complete this.  All I need now is the time.  It has made it's way to the top of my to-do's.  Now, I just need to do it.  I am not sure what it's use will end up being anymore.  I think that is why it has stalled so long.  I am certain if I don't use it, Claire will certainly find something to do with it.  Here is what it looks like now.

The other project that is always floating around my mind is the Doherty Sweater.  When my mom and I went to Ireland in 2005 she and I bought a kit to make a Clan Aran sweater.  This project has been taped up in it's box for 2 moves and a LOT of shuffling.  Yet, when I wanted it I seemed to know exactly where is my garage.  The kit include a rough sketch of the pattern and some very loose instructions.  I think this is why I hesitate so much.  But, it did include all the yarn, so I am ahead of the game there.  I would not look for this project from me for a while. I think before I even think about starting it I have to take the pattern and rewrite it, which is intimidating enough.  But, someday I will have them both done and out of my queue.

Be well. Create. Inspire.

Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches

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This is the post for yesterday.  I got a little tied up.  The post for today will go up a little later. 

The subject is organization.  At the right you will see some of how I keep my yarn organized.  I have 2 of these 8-cube shelves.  The yarn is very generally organized by color.  I spent some time a few weeks back to photograph my entire stash and catalog it online at Ravelry.  This is particularly handy because I can access it online most anywhere with my phone.  But, I also have a pretty certain idea of what I have/need in my head. 

Projects for me are easy to find.  I have managed to only have between 1-3 projects going at a time and they stay in my knitting basket.  I will occassionally use the gallon ziplock back concept for keeping the yarn from getting crazy.  Up above on this same shelf are my knitting and crochet books.  Unlike all of my other book that are of course organized by subject in alphabetical order, these are by size because that is how I got them to stay upright.  So many of them are really big and then really small.  But all are gems and also logged in the library section of my Ravelry.

Be well. Create.  Inspire.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Skill + 1UP

Join in with Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011 

The topic of today is Skill + 1UP.  This was easy for me.  By far, the greatest skill I have picked up is lace work.  I don't believe it was something that I rationalized or planned.  It was simply an evolution of knitting.  Similar to what I talked about yesterday in the choosing of yarn and fiber.  There was a time in my knitting/crochet life that I would make you anything as long as it was stockinette stitch, garter stitch, or I-cord.  And even I-cord was a big move for me.  I can without a doubt attribute my fiber arts evolution to discovering Ravelry.  Furthermore, if I looked up when I had that haircut with my friend from high school who told me about Ravelry, I am sure I could pinpoint the day.  I think that it is a natural evolution to want to make something bigger, a sweater, add a zipper, follow a chart.   There is a point where stockinette and granny squares aren't enough.  That is when I discovered lace.  I kind of dove in head first.  But, I enjoy it so much that I will be teaching a class on beginning lace soon.  I am very proud of the lace work projects that I have accomplished.  Highest on that list of course is having completed my Girasole blanket.  But, another favorite is the Arabella shawl.  It turned out so lovely in the Jamieson Spindrift yarn.  Lace work is still a work in progress, but it is a skill that I am so proud to have accomplished this past year.  

Tomorrow: Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches.

Be well. Create. Inspire.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tale of Two Yarns

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week Banner Blue

In an effort to keep up and kick start my blogging with some more readers I am participating in the second Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.   Each day there will be a different subject that knitting and crochet bloggers will be typing about.

The first subject being a "Tale of Two Yarns."

Yarn is one of my favorite the world.  I love yarn store.  I love the variety of fibers that I get to experiment with while doing needle work.  I was talking with a student about fibers and we agreed that we all start out with very commercial, often times acrylic, yarn.  Then, the artist grows, as well as their skill, and all of a sudden you want to good stuff.  What exactly is that?  It depends.  I find that I am either looking for yarn and then finding something to do with it OR finding a project and then looking for yarn.  But with the queue that I have on Ravelry, I often have an idea of yardage floating around my head so generally for me...yarn first.

One such instance is Cascade Eco Duo+.  If you love neutrals at all, you simply have to touch it.  Then, once you have touched it, you buy it.  It wasn't one of those instances that I would buy yarn just because I love it then stash it.  This yarn I used immediately.  I made a hat out of it and tried my hand at my first cables.  The hat is so incredibly soft.  I often tell people to touch it because it feels like a kitten. For the sake of being critical and subjective- I will say that while I love the yarn for the hat that I made, it is not an everyday yarn.  This is the kind of yarn that you would use for a specific project.  A sweater would be wonderful, but it would pill a lot.  A cowl would be soft and glorious.  But because of the fuzz, I don't recommend it for long term wear and tear.

The next yarn that I am going to highlight is Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK.  Frankly, I love a lot of their yarns.  I chose this one in particular because I prefer to work in DK vs. fingering.  The other reason I chose Tosh Merino DK vs. Tosh DK is because what I am learning about myself is that I love single ply yarn.  I find that I am drawn to that over a plied yarn.  I have plenty of plied yarn, but majority is single ply.  While I am not generally a fan of superwash yarn, this is indeed superwash merino.  I think that lends itself well to making it an absolute favorite, versatile, everyday yarn.  The first project was a hat.  The next project with it will likely be a shawl.

You may notice a trend hat, hats, hats.  I find that hats are a good way to test out a new yarn.  And then you can build up a supply of last minute gifts while you are at it. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


It my new tagline.  Do you like it?  Have you noticed? 

Be well. Create. Inspire. 

Words that came to me as I continue on this fiber filled blogging journey.  I have to say that I too have times of feeling rather uninspired.   Working in a spiritual center I have come to understand that it is a part of the cycle of life.  We all have times of light and shadow, dusk and dawn, happy sad, mad glad.  You get the picture.  But the more that I think that I am being uninspired, the more inspiration comes my way. 

It is an absolute honor to be called an inspiration by someone.  This has happened on several occasions now, often coming from those that inspire me.  What I appreciate most is that I am able to inspire people in so many different aspects of my life.  Some I have inspired creatively, some I have inspired by my parenting, and some through my work at the spiritual center. It is all of this abundance that inspires me to keep it going, to keep creating, to keep being the best wife and mother I can be. For those of you that I have inspired and vice versa, please know I am truly blessed by knowing you and YOU continue to be MY inspiration.

So, now, let me share with you some recent finished projects to show you where I channel all that goodness!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Crochet Class

Check it out! I am on board to teach a beginning crochet class at MakeOne in Milwaukie. If you have ever been inspired to crochet, now is your chance!

Beginning Crochet – Sundays (3/20 and 3/27) from 11:30 – 1:00 pm –$24 - Michelle Kroll

MakeOne DescriptionWant to venture into the world of crochet with confidence? Come and take this two session class from Michelle. She’ll get you “hooked” on crochet and on the road to making those crochet projects that you’ve had your eye one. Register for this two session class by calling (503) 974-9614 or stopping in.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Scones & Rikke Hat

First of all, sorry for the delay.  There was a sick day thrown in and a knitting retreat.  There will be a separate post for the knitting retreat later.

When launching one of my goals was to throw in the occasional recipe. I enjoy trying new recipes, particularly if it is any kind of baked goods.  As  we start getting into canning season you will likely get introduced to some of my favorite jam recipes.  But, one of my favorite things to make are scones.  They are the ultimate versatile pastry.  You can add just about anything to them, and have them sweet or savory.  Here is the basic recipe that I have been using.  (Adapted from a recipe given to me by Eileen Parfrey.)

Michelle's Basic Scone Recipe

1/2 c. rolled oats
1 c. flour
3 T brown sugar
1.5 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 T flax seed
6 T butter
6 oz. Greek yogurt

Cut in the butter with the flour and the rolled oats. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients.  Mix in the yogurt.

Add-ins: crystallized ginger, mini chocolate chips, nuts or seeds, 1/4 of your favorite spice, vanilla beans, or 2 T of finely flaked coconut (like the kind used for macaroons).

Bake at 400 for 14-18 minutes.

And now for the finished object update.  There have been a few since the last post.  
Those will be in the follow-up about the knitting retreat.  Below is the Rikke Hat.  The hat is a design by Sarah Young of Happy Knits and is a free pattern that you can find here.  It was a fun and easy knit.  The yarn I used for this was Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK in Ruby Slippers.  I simply love Madelinetosh yarns.  All of their colors are fabulous and their yarns soft and smooshy.

Here is what I called Raspberry Rikke.