Christmas Reading, New Year Reflecting, and Fiber-y Apps

Maybe it’s all the online Christmas shopping I do, but I seem to have been doing alot of browsing online lately and coming across things right and left that I bookmark to go back to later. Usually I share the links I thought were the best of the best, and most of these are, but I have one in particular I am not sure about and I am sharing to solicit your opinions.

For whatever reason, it seems to be hard to find knitting/crocheting apps that seem useful and worth downloading. I came across this link and if any of you have used these apps, please leave me a comment and let me know which one, and whether you loved it, hated it, or what you found it most useful for? If you use apps not on this list, feel free to comment your suggestions too. Many thanks! 🙂

Debbie Macomber posted this on her Facebook page, and it makes me want to curl up and read some holiday-themed books and cuddle with my pets and a cup of hot chocolate.

You can never go wrong surfing around a site celebrating creativity and the creative process, and I am very interested in reading her book, Creative Strength Training.

I will probably save this to work through after Christmas, but every year after Christmas, I love to spend a little time reflecting on the past year and to think ahead to the new year. I’m not as much about setting resolutions as I am about clearing out mental space and just reevaluating what is important and what I want to focus on in the new year. This is a free workbook, and I am looking forward to filling it out and using it to write everything down! Enjoy!

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Firing Up My Creative Urge While Avoiding Finishing

I have a new design, two shawls, a hat, a jacket, and soon to be a cowl and a scarf (both new designs also) sitting on my work table waiting to be finished. I know, I did it to myself. I used to ALWAYS do finishing when I bound off, and I wouldn’t start a new project until the ends were woven in and the piece was washed and blocked. I am not sure how I fell into allowing FO’s to pile up when all that is left to be done is finishing, but here I am.

Anyway, while I have been procrastinating, I have been getting more and more inspired to keep designing and starting new things, and as usual, this happens when I am reading other blogs, browsing Instagram, and going through magazines. So while I hunker down and get my finishing done so I can finally show you photos of all my FO’s, here are a few rabbit holes to jump into just for fun… or to procrastinate. 😉

  1. This makes me want to just start organizing my house in gradients, and I am definitely following her Instagram!
  2. I love the idea of setting a Thanksgiving table with these as decorations – just to mix it up!
  3. This artist does such beautiful imagery in such vibrant colors, especially considering alot of her works are in watercolor, which sometimes tends to be more washed out.
  4. I could just sit and browse these photos exploring color in nature. Such a perfect mix when you are seeking inspiration!

Releasing and Rewarding Myself

I have finished a number of projects, am in the process of rearranging rooms in my house to accommodate my kids’ needs, as well as my own need for a studio workspace, and have had to be very disciplined to keep myself on track.

Now that I have accomplished my goals, I am releasing myself to start some new projects and find new inspiration. (Always energizing things for me!) When I get turned loose to surf the web, I always find way more things to do than I will ever have time for (we all have this problem when we look at our Ravelry favorites, don’t we?), and my Links to Inspire category was created for this reason.

Of all the cool things I’ve come across, here are my favorites:

  1. I love, love, LOVE a cool stashbusting project! And this one uses 3 strands of yarn at once, which would be really helpful if you have a huge variety of leftovers you thought you’d never be able to find a way to make work together. Just an idea: lay out your colors and pair according to light and dark, or warm and cool. Or you can do it according to color families – reds of varying shades together, blues, etc.
  2. A tried and true way to clear your head – plus, you get to buy a pretty notebook.
  3. A cool DIY project and a beautiful way to enjoy flowers.
  4. I am going to make EVERY pattern in this book. Doesn’t happen too often that I like every pattern in a book, but this one – YES PLEASE! Plus, by the time I make it through the book, I will have tried about every short-row technique there is.

I believe when you work really hard and meet your goals, you should release yourself from obligations for a specified amount of time and reward yourself, which is exactly what I am going to do over the weekend. Enjoy yours too!

via Release

100 Sweaters

In Los Angeles, it’s generally about 100 degrees (at least!) until at least the end of September. Sweater weather doesn’t start until mid-to-end of October, and sometimes later. But, depending how fast you work, now can be the perfect time to start a sweater project because by the time you finish weaving in ends and blocking it, you will be able to actually wear it.

I came across this post with 100 sweaters, and it spoke to the designer in me. But even if you’re not a designer, you will find this helpful if you’re not sure what kind of sweater you’re in the mood to make. You have 100 options here for different silhouettes, sleeve styles and necklines, so you can either choose what you like to help you decide what sort of pattern to buy, or if you’re designing your own, you have helpful visuals to help you decide which combo of necklines, sleeves and stitch patterns would make your perfect sweater. And this will exponentially help narrow down a Ravelry search, which will yield you 115,394 choices if you just type “sweater” into the pattern search.

Have fun, and happy making!

Summer Movies and Books + the Coolest (FREE) Knitting Pattern Ever

Anyone who reads my blog for much length of time knows it’s very hard for me to tear myself away from knitting and/or the beach. But summer is never complete for me without some lazy afternoons spent reading or going to the movies.

I just finished reading a real-life Indiana Jones story, which fascinated me and basically meant I couldn’t carry on with life until I finished the book. Parts of it were very technical, but overall, it was an interesting read and amazing to me that there is somewhere left on earth that is relatively unexplored. However, the author also gives a dose of reality about the risks taken to go trekking through dense jungle, and just so I don’t spoil anything, let’s just say that Indiana Jones remains more fantasy than reality.

Next on my reading list is an art heist true story… if you’ve already read it, let me know your thoughts, spoiler-free of course!

On to movies:

I don’t know if there’s an exploration theme going on with me, but I have always loved the Pirates of the Caribbean movies – especially the first one, and the last two. I just took the kids to see the latest last week, and it didn’t disappoint!

But, there is one movie that is at the top of my wish list to see:

A number of people I know are so excited about this movie they went in costume to see it. Not sure I will go in costume, but, if I did, this would be my cape. Seriously the coolest knitting project ever! And this is why I think our community is the best ever – where else do you find such cool stuff for free?! Enjoy!

Summer Inspiration and Entertainment

I really love the start of summer. Three months in front of us that we can fill or not fill as we choose. During the school year, it is hard to immerse myself into projects because I have an hour here and an hour there, and in between have to run my kids to one activity or another. Summer days are so much more relaxed, and it is nice to have longer blocks of time when I can “lose” myself in a project. I have been catching up on emails, podcasts, and blogs and debating what projects I want to tackle this summer. I am still deciding, but in the meantime, here are a few links to inspire you, and even if you already have your summer projects laid out, to entertain you. Enjoy!

To listen to while you work: Talks for the Fiber Lover

One of those lovely projects that isn’t hard, but looks impressive: Make A Statement

And to shop, get inspiration or summery DIY home ideas: Kailo Chic

#yarnlovechallenge – Friends, Family, and Fiber

#yarnlovechallenge
Read on for Days 11 – 18
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 11 – Travel Projects. I love a good garter stitch shawl or cowl when travelling.
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 12 – Progress. I know I’ve made progress when it’s time to get all Project Runway and pin pieces on the mannequin to ready it for seaming!
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 13 – Selfie. One of my first ever selfies – I was still learning how to take them. This was when we went up to the mountains to let the kids experience snow.
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 14 – Yarn Love. Doesn’t this photo just say it all?! Taken when my Boo was only a few weeks old – I had to take her with me to work because I was still bottle-feeding her every few hours. I put a THICK stack of paper towels under her before snapping this photo, just to make sure nothing “wet” would happen to the yarn.
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 15 – Family. This was taken 5 or 6 years ago when my kids were dressed up for Halloween.
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Day 16 – Happy Color. I mean, just look at it! Happy color indeed. 🙂
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 17 – Fiber Friends. Here is my best fiber friend, still a kitten, hiding in my project bag. She is still my bestie when I’m doing some late-night crafting.
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 18 – Gratitude. I am grateful for Kaffe Fassett. I am grateful to have his books. I am grateful to have knit one of his patterns. I am grateful I had the floor space to deal with knitting one of his patterns. And I am VERY grateful that I never have to work with 20 balls of yarn attached all at once ever again. 🙂