Favorite Projects & Books of Summer (so far!)

 
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Here is what I love about summer:

  • extra daylight
  • iced drinks 24/7
  • sunsets
  • ice cream
  • napping

Here is what I don't love about summer:

  • fire season
  • heat
  • feeling sweaty
  • heat. have I mentioned heat?

I made this insane goal that before the temperatures get cool (which is like...November) I want to have a little wardrobe of new knit goods to wear.

I want:

  • a hat
  • a cowl
  • a shawl
  • a pair of fingerless gloves.

I've accomplished one! I finished the cowl this weekend, I made Zuzu's Petals from Madelinetosh DK Twist in Modern Fair Isle. I thought the pattern was fun and well written and I know I chose yarn that doesn't do the pattern justice (I'm forever picking yarn that doesn't show off lace...eek!), I'm looking forward to wearing it!

I started knitting the fingerless gloves. I'm using zombie ViXen by Susan Claudino and it's been REALLY fun! Have you ever looked through her patterns? She is so good at knitting creatures, she gives them freaking eyebrows. That detail kills me! I forgot how great cables are to knit. The yarn is from Spun Right Round and it's called Combat Boots & Babydoll Dresses. Totally 90's and I *love* it. It's kind of a pale oat-y color with tiny flecks of orange, aqua and mauve.

I have no idea what I'll do for a hat or a shawl. I really love Moonraker, it's super unique and looks like it would be a really fun knit!

One of my favorite projects from this summer so far is my Quilt to Read Under. The pattern is ModBlocks by Johanna Masko. I had literally ONE weekend to make a quilt. My sewing time is super limited so when I have time, I want to make the most of it and get something great accomplished. I *love* Joanna's patterns. They are direct and to the point. Really clever. Easy to understand. Sometimes I just want to read the directions and end up with a great quilt with zero math or thinking on my part. It drives me nuts when I buy a quilt pattern and it has a ridiculous amount of waste and strange cutting instructions.

I picked a bundle of colors that I normally wouldn't go with but this year I'm crushing on lilac REALLY hard. Patchwork is always a very special thing to me, I like to take my time picking fabric to tell a story. I really wanted a new little lap quilt to take on a road trip to Modoc County we went on and I knew I wanted it whimsical and a tiny bit edgy. It has some silk. Some chambray. Linen. Double cotton gauze. Some old favorites and some new. I wanted the size to be small but the fabric to have a big impact. And maybe have a little fairy tale sweetness without being too saccharine. I love this quilt. FIERCELY.

I named it a Quilt to Read Under because I like dragging it to my chair and having it in my lap while reading. And this summer is alllllllllll about reading.

Here are my very favorite books I've read this summer. You should read them. Seriously. They are all very different and very good!

  • To All The Boys I've Loved Before- Jenny Han It was quirky and sweet!
  • Sinner by Maggie Steifvater I'm a huge fan girl of Maggie Steifvater and I went into this knowing that it wasn't meant to be part of the Shiver series but more of a stand alone and wowowowow. With each book she writes, she just gets better and better.
  • The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson I was so confused for the first 1/2 of this book trying to put the name to the character. Who was the prince and who was the assassin. Just when I thought I figured it out...nope. This was a fast read for me, one afternoon! I just was super into it! And it's an excellent cliff hanger.
  • The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen I went into this book knowing nothing about it, only that I wanted to read a fantasy with a strong female lead. This is one of those books where you watch the character go from UGH to YAY. I love good character development.
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr This book. If you read just ONE book this summer, make it this one. Truly. What a beautiful and haunting story. It took me about two weeks to read this simply because it's lushly written, I didn't WANT to stop reading it but it's such a HARD subject (WW2) that I'd find myself having to pause to catch my breath. It's incredibly paced as well. Marie's story is going to stay with me for a long time.

We have about A MILLION new patterns in the shop. Truly. So many people asked about my scissor fob that Ashleigh made me last summer that we did the pattern for it. And The Mysterious Halloween Town club is now two clues in and I LOVE IT! Once Upon a Time is growing and it's insane! It feels like just yesterday we were stitching January's block! My birthday is next month and we always pick our favorite things for our birthday month, mine I think will surprise people and I super hope everyone likes it! And speaking of birthday months! It's Ashleigh's birthday today! We always have a BIG promo code on her birthday- this year it's 26% off your entire purchase with promo code BIRTHDAY

Print

It expires on Monday, July 28th at noon PST. Also, Picture This Plus has a huge fabric sale on July 25th so it's a good opportunity to stock up on patterns + supplies!

:):)

Sock Yarn & Book Covers

 
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Things I love:

  • reading!
  • knitting socks!

So today I thought it would be fun to sort through some of my stash and see if I could find yarn that matches book covers! The kind of yarn that even though the dyer didn't set out to create book cover themed yarn, they totally did! There are dyers who dye yarns inspired by books, t.v. shows, pop culture, etc but these are just skeins from my stash that reminded me SO much of book covers! Sometimes you finish a book and you don't want your time with the story to end...so socks inspired by books?! YES!

The yellow of Eleanor's shirt, the orange of her hair, the dark parts of Park's hair, the blue of his shirt! Alternately, this yarn could also work for Flat Out Love but I liked reading E&P better!

The glass city at the bottom of the cover is this gray green with all the fire-y angel wings in the background. Also, excellent speckles give the same texture as the cover!

I'd get an F at making this list if I didn't include this book cover, it has a freaking knit sweater on the front! The blue of the title, the purple of the sweater, the pink of the deer and the brown of the rope are all in this skein!

You might just have to trust me that this color is an exact match to America's dress on the cover- this yarn was super tricky to photograph. Plucky always has the most rich and full of depth solids. Also- the name! All Spruced Up! Yup. I went there. ;)

Oh yes. This is the skein that sparked my curiosity of yarn+book cover matching. I saw Beata post a photo of this skein on facebook and I was instantly like TEARDROPPPPP! And it nails it! The ethereal water-y background of pale blues, aquas and pops of pink. So, so, so PRETTY!

Oh Karou! That mask! It's totally ombre and just dreamy! This skein looks like her face with the white title overlay. I loved this story and think it deserved a whimsical skein. Plus the name just makes sense for this book!

We launched a new pattern today- Cherry Blossom Sampler and as we were working on it I kept thinking about this Opal yarn I bought that reminds me of sushi. It's not a book cover but that's ok ;)

So how about you? Can you think of any skeins in your stash that might match book covers?!

WIP Mermaid Hair Socks

 
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The light tonight was just too pretty not to share with you!

I debated blogging but I feel like I have absolutely nothing exciting to share with you!!! But that's ok right?!

Glitter/Sparkle yarn! Have you ever knit with it before? I have a few skeins in my stash and this skein of Mermaid Hair by Squirrel Stash Yarn was just begging me to cast on. Her yarn has the cutest names, the sparkle base is called Hazelnut Glitz and my order came wrapped all sweet with an adorable stitch marker. It definitely didn't hurt that my yarn came the same day as my new DPNs!

I've been hemming and hawing about these needles, double pointed needles, trying a new way of sock knitting etc for months. Seriously. How many times have I asked you guys your thoughts on them? A million times. My very first sock was knit on DPNs and it was...rough. I knit the second sock on circular needles and it was like a light bulb went off in my head but lately it just isn't working for me, especially two at a time.

For comfort reasons, I thought I'd try a pair of short DPNs and so far, I love them. Like, LOVELOVE. Also, I'm not sure how it's possible but I've cast on for these 6 days ago and I'm already an inch above the heel. What?! That is SO fast and I've barely had any knitting time, this was a project just in my purse- meaning I work on it in the car, waiting at appointments and while looking at tumblr at Starbucks. If you've never knit with circular needles, as you knit you have to adjust the cord but it's totally no big deal, I'm not sure if it's the lack of cord adjusting, the crazy sharp points or what but I just feel like these socks are FLYING. I am *not* a fast sock knitter at all and I'm definitely enjoying each stitch of these. We'll see if this keeps being awesome, I'll definitely report back!

I do find purling to be tricky so I need some practice on that. This is definitely not the neatest sock I've knit but I'm enjoying it. It also happens to match the cover of a book I'm starting tonight, Plus One so that's exciting.

:):)

Let's get cozy.

 
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First off, thank you for all your kind words and emails on my previous post. It was amazing how many friends reached out and said "YES. The joy of creating isn't there anymore" or  "Let's all share MORE little things". I have a few more thoughts to share on this subject but I'll save them for another day k?

Second off, can I just share with you guys some stuff that is inspiring me lately?

Tubularity! Whyyyyy is Martina Behm so dang CUTE? This is such a neat little pattern, it's something I can see myself wearing a ton. Also: I'm drowning in sock scraps. A quick dive into my scrap tub revealed these leftovers that I thought looked neat together. I probably will need to buy yarn or break into other full skeins today which I'm a-ok with! I'm not 100% sure I'm doing the increases correctly (she has a video but mine aren't looking *exactly* like she shows them) but I like knitting it. I'm looking forward to moving from yarn blob to yarn blob. That's a technical term k?

Ashburn! This is my summer knitting goal. I bought four skeins of Candy Skein Savory Fingering in Honey, Oyster, Grape Fizz & Plum. I got to meet Tami at Stitches West and she is just awesome! I can't decide which combo of colors I'll use but I'm excited to wear it next fall. This is one I'm really looking forward to just enjoying the process and relaxing with. I think it's going to feel similar to Multnomah, that is my current shawl that I keep it in my purse.

Bertie Bott's Yarn! Um WHAT! I was digging through my yarn bin and came across this cutie that Chop bought me...in 2012. WHY HAS IT NOT BECOME SOCKS YET?! Both pairs of socks on my needles right now at two at a time, which is totally fine but I want to have a single sock to keep in my purse. This is so sparkly. And Harry Potter themed. And a present from my favorite dude.

Reading. Reading. Reading. No seriously. I can't stop. This is my Goodreads in case you are also into reading. Which I hope you are.

The reading frenzy started when I discovered BookRiot. I don't know why it never occurred to me to look at book related blogs/websites but I fell down the rabbit hole and I AM SO INTO IT. Then I learned tumblr has a ton of YA book fandom. Now I'm using tumblr again and loooooving it.

My main reading goal this year was 75 books. But I wanted them to be REALLY GOOD reads. None of this "self published 100 pages stuff". Don't get me wrong, there are some super talented self published authors but I feel like the majority I read last summer/fall just weren't for me.

Here are five of my favorite books so far- also, I'm the worst at explaining why I like books so just pretend this is super eloquent k?

  • These Broken Stars. I've never read anything space related before and I reallllly liked this. Only the first bit takes place in space and I liked the world building. I hope the rest of the series involves space ships because they just seem really neat.
  • Cress. Oh oh oh. This is the online fandom I stalk the most. It's just such a unique series and it's beautifully written.
  • Dreams of Gods & Monsters. This is my second favorite online fandom. Taylor very boldly inserts new characters and details into this book- the last in the series. Full confession- I rarely read the last book in a series. Especially if it's one I love. I'm always too afraid the author is going to kill it for me. I was satisfied with this ending. I'm looking forward to re-reading the entire series again from start to finish.
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. This one surprised me. The writing is just DREAMY. Poetic. Haunting. Strange. I liked it because it was just really unique.
  • Half Bad. I read one person say that this book could have been the childhood story of Snape. I'm not sure about that but it is also a really unique read. White Witches vs. Black Witches and White Witches...aren't the greatest. It's a dark story, I think it would be a good October read.

I'm currently reading The Name of the Wind, good friends suggested it and I'm looking forward to a long meat-y read. Speaking of meat-y reads- I decided that this summer my goal is to finish Game of Thrones. I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm 59% through this book and just ARGH about it. I read it and I keep waiting and waiting and waiting for SOMETHING GIANT to happen but it's a about a MILLION little stressful events CONSTANTLY happening! I'd find myself reading until 1 or 2 am just waiting for it (I don't even know what it is!) to happen. It's just super suspenseful but also not at the same time. Does that even make sense? Probably not. But I follow a few fandom blogs on tumblr about the books and it's just a fascinating culture to me that I'm genuinely mad at myself for not just reading it! Also: 59%! That's a ton. But now I can't decide if I should start again or pick up from where I left off or WHAT!

Also, I'm currently cross stitching a new club pattern. And it's awesome. It's so kawaii and based on my favorite holiday EVER and I can't wait to start sharing photos with you. We have everything ready to go and I don't want to make any bold claims but this just might be the best thing Ashleigh has ever designed for me. Yes, for me. Because IT'S MY FAVORITE FLIPPING HOLIDAY IN MY FAVORITE COLORS. Granted, it's her favorite holiday and favorite colors too but...I request CAKE and there is CAKE. I said OWLS and received OWLS. I said PUMPKINS WITH ONE TOOTH and...yup. It's going to be good.

I'll be back hopefully soon to share my million photos of Once Upon a Time Sampler & Tea Time.

One last thing, Tracey suggested I try Young Living Deep Relief roll on essential oil blend. I'm pretty excited to give it a try.

<3

Quietly Creating & Missing Pickle Chips

 
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Hi!

Happy Sunday!

What are you up too?

Yesterday Chop & I went and saw The Grand Budapest Hotel! We very much loved it. As always, it was like an amazing visual feast.  I'm always such a sucker for his palettes and details.

I've been slowly but surely working on my Romi Hill Mystery Shawl.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot lately about "purposeful" & "quiet" creating. The kind of projects where you focus a lot on the process and not so much on the end result. I've also been thinking about seasonal flavors of potato chips.

2014 is turning out to be my year of purposeful creating. Everything I've done so far has been a slow journey.

Part of this is because my hand gets cranky if I knit or stitch for long increments of time. Part of this is because I literally don't have the energy to do a million things. And part of it is because I work full time on Pumpkin stuff- my personal crafting time is limited, therefore I want to make it count and be special.

Here is what I'm doing differently:

  • Love it or leave it! If the project I'm working on doesn't give me 100% satisfaction- it's a goner. I've always been pretty ok with this part, I've frogged countless knitting projects and taken apart many quilts but now I'm being more diligent than ever. See you later lame projects!
  • Use materials that bring you joy: Special yarn, special fabric, favorite sewing machine. Let's use all the favorites! I've been debating destashing stuff I no longer love because it stresses me out to have a ton of things that I'm not using. I literally put 95% of my fabric stash into storage because I felt like a jerk.
  • Make the process count. My knitting time is limited (my left hand gets sore) so I make it special. Favorite music or an audiobook, cup of coffee, new project bag, cute stitch markers, etc. I'll knit uninterrupted for an hour, rather than "knitting" for three hours but really I'm not knitting, I'm looking at  facebook or getting distracted by other stuff. This is the hardest one for me.
  • Figuring out which part of crafting brings you joy and focusing on it. I personally do not enjoy full sized quilt making. At all. I never have. We sleep under a down comforter, not a quilt for this exact reason. I enjoy it even less if I'm making the same block.over.and.over.and.over. But I *love* fabric and I love small patchwork, especially if it tells a story. So this year I'm taking traditional blocks and making a sampler. Just from scraps. When I have time. I don't have a giant master plan, I have some loose ideas. That is how quilting brings me joy: handfuls of scraps, loose plan, favorite small blocks.
  • The WHY. I think the number one question I get when I'm stitching or knitting in public is why? Why craft? Why create? Can't you buy socks at Target for like, a dollar?!  WHY DO YOU DO THIS?! Example: Why am I knitting a shawl? Because I absolutely love these two yarns. Because I want to support the designer. Because I wanted to support two indie yarn dyers. Because I like getting a little piece of the puzzle each week. Because I love taking photos of WIPs. Because my favorite feeling is watching something newly finished floating in bubbles of Soak Wash & anxiously tapping my fingers because I want to see how GIANT it gets. Because I absolutely want a navy & purple shawl to wear next fall. Because it's cozy! Totally cozy!  Because I hate being cold! Each project I'm asking myself WHY. But this doesn't mean "justify yourself". That's totally different and you should never have to justify your creations. Ever. Which brings me to the next part...
  • Enjoying the result. I have a confession to make. (I'm making my "serious Amanda face right now") I don't share many of my finished projects because it makes me uncomfortable when people ask me things like "do you sleep?!" "how do you knit so many socks, you must not have kids!" "do you even make quilts anymore or do you just knit"? or comments like "you are a machine"! It makes me feel almost ashamed about how much I do and don't create. And then I feel like I have to justify how much I create, why I spend my time/money/etc creating and well...that sucks the joy right out of it! I recently talked about this with a few online friends. They shared similar stories about how they'll finish a quilt, take DOZENS of photos but only share three because they are afraid of people commenting about the mistakes or asking why they chose certain fabrics instead of more "matching" prints. Or the fear of "overgramming" a project.  One knitting friend said for every finished sweater she shares, she's actually knit two but she's embarrassed  to share them all after someone added up the cost of her finished sweater collection! Who even does that?! RUDE! I *hate* feeling like social media makes me not want to celebrate my finishes. I *hate* that my friends don't share 9 million photos of their finished quilts. I hate that I've only seen like, 5 of my friends finished sweaters when I now know she's knit a dozen! I'm not sure if this sort of negativity happens offline, I only have three local friends and so far none of them have been like "AMANDA WHYYYYYY ARE YOU MAKING HALF A DOZEN PINK QUILTS!!!!!" (correct answer: Why WOULDN'T you?!) The things we create we SHOULD celebrate. We should be proud. Technically, in the age of $1 Target socks, we don't HAVE to create. But we do. It doesn't have to be fancy. I truly feel so inspired when I see someone do something like turn handspun yarn into a sweater. Or switch from aida to linen and *get* it. Or make a quilt and share their favorite block, even if it's not perfectly pieced. There is something WAY more inspiring to me to watch a project grow and turn into something than see three photos of a finished quilt with the pattern name, fabrics used and that's it. I guess I want to see more of why we create and more of us enjoying the things we make!

This year I'm probably going to create less. But I'm definitely going to try and enjoy every single second of it!

And I'm also going to throw a mega hissy fit if the Safeway in town doesn't bring back pickle flavored Lays potato chips.

SO! to summarize!

More creating with less pressure, enjoying the process, sharing more, more favorite stuff being used and hopefully pickle flavored chips being consumed while doing all of these things.

<3

Zombody Loves Ewe Socks

 
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I finally finished a pair of socks!

I feel like these took me so long, my left hand gets super grouchy if I knit a ton so I have to take days off which is totally a bummer. Nothing makes me happier than a pair of plain socks on my needles, I like being able to work on them with friends or in the car and not have to do a whole lot of thinking!

The yarn is Zombody Loves Ewe by Desert Vista Dye Works it was a Valentine's Day present from Chop. I liked working with it because I'm such a sucker for a speckled yarn, the decayed bits cracked me up!

I truly love knitting the Fish Lips Kiss Heel, it fits so well and is really fun to knit. I know I sound like a broken record but if you haven't tried this heel yet, give it a try! It's super satisfying.

Naturally I'm already plotting a new pair of socks. I saw this braid of fiber a few months ago and pretty much died. I loved the colors so much but I'm absolutely not a spinner! I tried in college and just failed at it. I'll just live vicariously through you guys. I fell over when I saw that Mutant Flamingo was now available as sock yarn! I literally texted Ashleigh and did a little dance of excitement. Can you see the little speckles?! It's so cute, plus I'm a sucker for anything zombie/mutant themed. Also: cat label!!! <3

My knitting time is also slim because I've been cross stitching so much and to be honest, I'm addicted! I've been enjoying my afternoons just cross stitching and listening to music. I feel pretty lucky that people seem to enjoy stitching our patterns, it just makes us design more and work harder. When I go a few days without stitching I start to miss it! I've started becoming border line obnoxious to Ashleigh, I text her cross stitch work in progress photos about a million times per day. It just doesn't get old!

I took a few photos of a new project we dropped off to be framed, I'm going to share them later on this week. Cross stitch is surprisingly tricky to take photos of! One of the projects is on this hand dyed green fabric that is so hard to capture, it's really unique. I think I love indie dyed linen just as much as I love indie dyed yarn. We recently contacted two different thread manufacturers to hopefully work with later on this year. Both are really beautiful and smaller companies who I think if you like to stitch, you'll like to use their thread!

Are you guys familiar with Welcome to Night Vale? It's a very spooky pod cast that is presented like a community broadcast and it.is.weird. In the very best way! Chop & I have been listening in the evenings and sometimes we just look at each other and go "WHAT THE WHAT!!!!!" It's very dry and twin peaks like. I've also started reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown which is also spooky and strange. I read The Darkest Minds this weekend and I was kind of let down. I loved Liam (darlin') but I couldn't muster any feelings towards Ruby.

:):)

Sunshine & Shadows

 
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Yesterday after a very productive business meeting (think a million Halloween cross stitch patterns) & a dr's appointment, I went by Trader Joe's and was SO excited to pick up a new plant! I have a super soft spot for Oxalis. I love how they open during the day and close at night. And $2.99? Perfect. I'm keeping mine on the kitchen table. Last winter I got a solar bear at a local store and he looks EXACTLY like Party Bears, he is loving the sunshine today and he makes this sort of clack clack clack as he dances. You can see his little gray body in the first photo. Hilarious.

I finally finished a sock! It feels like it took forever but really it was only three weeks. I'm using Desert Vista Dyeworks in Zombody Loves Ewe and it's been a joy to knit with, the yarn is soft and the colors are just dreamy. I'm pretty sure I say this whenever I knit striped socks but they are so much fun to do because you just tell yourself "one more stripe!  and I'll cook dinner. one more stripe! and I swear I'll cook dinner. one more stripe, there are leftovers in the fridge right?! " and suddenly you have half a foot done! ;) I can't stop watching Susan knit her Zombody Go Bragh! on Instagram. Soooo cute.

I bought yarn off eBay last week! That's a first for me. I saw this Opal Smile Sock Yarn on ravelry and it reminds me SO much of an upcoming pattern that I'm cross stitching that I had to get it. Doesn't it look like sushi?! I ordered it on a Thursday and it arrived the following Tuesday. I was so surprised since I'm in California and the yarn was from the UK!

Have you seen that Romi Hill has a mystery shawl KAL this month? I'm totally going to do it. I picked two yarns from my stash: Cakewalk Yarns Sincerest (these have attempted to be socks 5x now) & Plucky Primo in Big Sky. Very, very, very different color combos from what I usually knit with and I like it! I originally picked a Koigu that looks like dryer lint (in the very best way!) but the base yarn is so different than the Plucky! I thought about buying a different yarn briefly but there is something really fun about a mystery pattern making you look at your existing yarn in a new way. I was VERY close to using a skein of Cakewalk Yarns Weenie and Plucky Feet in Barn Door. The red and the gray looked great together but I'm not sure I'm ready to use that last skein of Weenie just yet.

I bought Teardrop by Lauren Kate to read this weekend. Lately I want to read a million books that take place in the South. I definitely want to visit there someday! And as for The Undead Pool? I don't want to spoil it so I'll just say YAYYYY TRENT! I totally gave it five stars on Goodreads!

Did you see that Lindsay opened her shop, Patchwork Threads?! It's true! I had a super hard time choosing a tshirt, I ended up getting "I quilt so I don't kill people" which is perfect for me because it's gray (gray tshirts + jeans = daily uniform) and it's true! I've had ZERO sewing time lately and it's making me surly!

:):)

Stitches West Recap

 
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Last Friday I went to Stitches West and it was a BLAST!

I wore my Follow Your Arrow Shawl and I'm so glad I did! I was worried it was dorky to wear something you've made to a knitting show but nope, everyone was wearing handmade stuff! I stopped so many people to compliment them on their knit goods! Everyone was really friendly.

I had a list before I went of patterns I wanted to buy yarn for, I printed the ravelry info page for each one so I'd have the yardage, a photo and suggested yarn all on one page. I'm not sure I'll have time for it all but I'm really excited. It's definitely going to keep me busy for a long time.

I mentioned a few posts ago that I've been sick lately, of course the day before we left I had a weird flare up and combined with nerves, by the time I got home I was a mess. I pretty much hate my stomach! I spent all day Saturday reading in bed which was both awesome and sad! We've had absurdly gorgeous weather here (70s!) and I wanted to do something outside, like go fishing or something!!!! But I did re-read Daughter of Smoke & Bone and wowowow. I first listened to the audiobook when it came out and gave it 4 stars but I didn't quite connect with the last 1/4 of the book when we learn about Madrigal. I'm not sure why but this time I really, really, really fell in love with this book. I ended up reading Days of Blood and Starlight next and again, totally in love. I was SO glad to have Zuzana in this book, she cracks me up. I started reading Night of Cake & Puppets this morning because clearly, I'm obsessed. I think the world building in this series is so amazing. I want blue hair. I want to visit Prague. I wish I could meet Brimstone. I'm reallllllly into this series. Have I made that clear?! ;)

Ok, so back to yarn. Sunday night I went out for tea with Chop and cast on for Multnomah by Kate Ray with some new Miss Babs Yummy in Verrassing. Her booth was just beautiful and I know, I know, you shouldn't use super variegated yarn for lace but I've been dying to knit this shawl for years and this yarn just puts a smile on my face. It's not a color I'd normally wear but wearing my hot pink arrow shawl gave me a little more bright color wearing confidence.

A few people on instagram asked if I'd share shop links so if you are itching for some new yarn & treats, here you go!

I'm working on cross stitching a new pattern, the one I mentioned previously that reminds me of things like The Great Gatsby, Downton Abbey and Art Nouveau all mixed together. It won't be released for a little while, we are shooting for potentially the first week of April. I'm stitching it, along with our two pattern testers. Then the pattern will be sent to our awesome proofers and if all goes well...NEW PATTERN TIME!!!

We do have a new pattern coming out on MARCH 1st!!! It's part of our new alphabet sampler series. We have a total of five alphabets of different themes that are really fun. These are really different than our previous patterns, a little more sophisticated! I'm going to share photos on Friday, I took photos as I went because I *love* WIP (works in progress) photos and it's just cute to see a pattern grow!

:):)

Follow Your Arrow & Cross Stitching

 
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Hi!

Happy Tuesday!

This weekend I finished my Follow Your Arrow Shawl.

And I have so many feelings!!! (I'm waving my hands around like a maniac- be thankful you can't see that.)

Ok, first off. What an incredibly enjoyable knit. I literally didn't want it to end. So, so, so much fun! I dragged this shawl with me everywhere. I'm currently wearing it as a lap blanket while I write this.

Second off. I can't figure out how to wear it! Ha! Typically I wear triangular shawls with the point forward, like a kerchief. This is a different shape and when I wear it that way, it looks as if I'm wearing a bib. Not the best look.  I tried to wear it traditionally, with the narrow ends around my shoulders and I look as if I'm pretended to be a super hero. Oh dear! I also ADORED knitting with these colors but wearing them...oh boy. I don't know if I can wear that much hot pink near my face without looking like a clown! ;)

It honestly doesn't matter though because I adored knitting it. And it matches my compound bow. Once I figure out how to comfortably wear it, I'll take more photos & do a big blog post with details.

I started working on cross stitching a new pattern that we are planning to release this spring and it's cuuuuute! For some reason it reminds me of a cross between The Great Gatsby & Downton Abbey. I made a new little Hoop Travel Bag to carry it around in. Porkchop bought me a fat quarter bundle of Catnap for Christmas, I keep trying to sew stuff with it but it's very rare for me to own an entire line of fabric at once so I sort of want to use it all in one quilt but finally I decided CAT BAG!!!!

Last week Ashleigh & I received the sweetest surprise from Rachelle of The Cottage Needle! She had Sugarloaf, The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's official mascot, turning into a knitting needle gauge and a thread minder! EEK!!! Adorable right?! I am so into cute notions and this is like a little dream come true! I asked her if she could order more and she can if you like him too!

On Friday Porkchop is taking me to Stitches West, I'm pretty excited, I've never been before. I'm hoping to find a skein or two of some yarn to turn into special socks. Is anyone else going?!

Hello February: Stitching, Knitting & The Olympics

 
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Last week was SO nice. It rained, which we desperately needed here.

I spent four days watching the entire last seasons of Grimm, Lost Girl & Sleepy Hollow while stitching up a brand new sampler. I absolutely loved stitching every.single.second. of this new pattern. Unfortunately we can't share any peeks until right before we release it which REALLY bums me out. I personally love seeing lots of in progress photos (don't worry- I took a million) but sadly, there is another "designer" who has been borrowing large sections of our patterns and including them in hers! Gross! So Ashleigh & I have decided to keep this under wraps until we are ready to release it. It's currently being framed, we are hoping it'll be ready to be picked up next week. I shared a little photo of my floss remains, just because I couldn't NOT share it!

The new pattern is something completely new for us, it has a traditional element that we've had a lot of requests for but completely fresh and the colors are unlike anything we've done before. I'm not joking when I say I'd be up, coffee in hand and cross stitching by 7 am each morning because I couldn't WAIT to work on it. It has inspired us to shake things up and try new things. If maybe you want to cross stitch something modern but kawaii isn't up your alley- be prepared to love this sampler. Ok. No more talking about this project! ;)

February's Once Upon a Time block is soooo cute! We did The Frog Prince and his little crown kills me. If you are thinking about joining us this year, consider signing up soon because March 1st the price rises to $24.95! We've had so many people tell us how much they've enjoyed it so far and that totally makes us SO happy.

We also re-released our Owl Always Love You pattern! It is FAST, I stitched it in just a few hours onto perforated paper, I originally was going to make it into a card for Chop but decided to frame it. :):) It's a good pattern for someone brand new to cross stitching or if you want a little Valentine's Day decoration.

Once I finished my work for the week, I dove into knitting my Follow Your Arrow shawl. Normally I've been finishing the clues early in the week but this week I only knit a few rows per day to really enjoy the process. You've heard me say this before but since I normally only knit socks, there is something very comforting and therapeutic about a big knitting project sitting in your lap as you knit. Then on Friday...it was on. All knitting, all the time.

It turns out I *love* watching the Olympics. Like, completely and utterly obsessed. Like, installed the NBC app so I can keep up with the medals. Like, cried when Hannah Kearney got the bronze. Like, bought an Olympic themed knitting bag (you can get one too!!!). So, while it rained all weekend, I camped out on the couch and cheered my little heart out for Team USA. But really, I cheer for everyone. I felt like my stomach was in knots the whole time. I've been watching curling today which is less stressful, no helmets to crack open! ;)

Chop surprised me with an early Valentine's Day present- a skein of Desert Vista Dye Works Somebody Loves Ewe! He totally gets me. I saw Andi mention a thread in her ravelry group...so I went over and saw socks...you know what happened next. Yarn was balled, sock was cast on and started while watching men's alpine skiing which is terrifyingly awesome. That drop with the lake in the background! oh my glob. The thing about striped socks is it always turns into "just one more stripe"! ;)

:):):)

See you later January!

 
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I definitely didn't mean to leave everyone for practically the whole month of January.

I was working through some health stuff last fall, it's something that has been bothering me for years and I finally decided to get a second opinion. Which turned into twice a week dr's appointments (lots of knitting time!) and all was going ok-ish until the past few weeks when everything sort of imploded. I'm always trying to look on the bright side of things because there is always someone out there who has it a lot worse than you, but I'll admit I'm feeling not myself lately! Major GrumpChop Status!

On the bright side, hanging out on the couch has given me a LOT of knitting and stitching time!

I decided to make my own personal yarn club this year, I filled up a Buffy bag with yarns I reallllly want to knit with in 2014. So far I've made one pair of socks and cast on for a second. I'm making toe up Monkey socks with Miss Babs Northumbria Deep Sea Jelly Fish! I've been keeping this project in my purse and haven't really been knitting on it during the evenings becauseeeee....

My 2014 big knitting goal was to knit another shawl! I picked two colors: Madelinetosh Sock in Pop Rocks & Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in Winter Woods. A few days later Ysolda started sign ups for Follow Your Arrow and I was totally in. I absolutely LOVE where this shawl is going. It's funny because I don't ever wear bright colors but knitting this is pure joy. I find it really comforting and relaxing. Each clue has been very achievable, it takes me about two afternoons of knitting. I'd consider myself an advanced beginner in terms of knitting skill level. I'll admit that every Monday morning I look at the spoilers before I pick my clue, lol. The European folks usually have a few photos up by the time I have lunch. It is really hard to pick though but I keep leaning towards the girl-y lace-y options. Again, not very like me but it's totally a blast!

In the afternoons I've been cross stitching too. I'm working on my Once Upon a Time Sampler. I'm excited for you guys to see February. I think my favorite month is November, I've been debating turning that one into a zip pouch or something. I stitched up a little  owl Valentine's Day pattern too. I'll have more details on it once we release it :):)

I saw a few people had questions about framing. We have our projects professionally framed. I'm still working on the best way to take photos of finished projects for the pattern covers and how to pick mats that look nice with frames! Sometimes we go to a local framing shop, other times we go to Michaels. Both times (in Chico, CA) we've had good experiences. The only thing I recommend is be patient. Maybe have a snack before you go in. ;) Lately I tend to get incredibly overwhelmed very fast and just pick ANYTHING to get out of the store and had my most favorite project, 12 Days of Christmas, framed with a horrid red mat! What on earth was I thinking?! I need to go back and get it switched out. That being said, framing is expensive.

I framed myself above little owl project myself this afternoon because it fit in this frame nicely, it came with the double mats already. I got it at Michaels-abuy one, get one free deal and since I stitched it on perforated paper, I just popped it into the frame and held it to the backing with acid free archival tape. I think it was around $34.00 for two frames, both with double mats. One is wood, one is white. There are all sorts of ways to frame projects yourself, some people use framing fabric adhesive and tape their projects around mat board, there are also mat pins and lacing as options. I'm waiting for a few books from amazon and the library about finishing your cross stitch, once I have more details I'll report back.

I am not sure why my blog hates firefox, it's the browser I use! I'll have Chop look at it this weekend and see if we can get the comments fixed. When in doubt, you can always email me at: thefrostedpumpkinstitchery at gmail dot com :):):)

<3

Coffee Break Socks

 
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If you've been following my blog, you may know that I'm obsessed with autumn.

Well, I have a confession to make.

The past two years, I've fallen in love with winter. It's been PERFECT here.

Aside from one very cold week, we are in the 60s during the day and 30s at night. Typically it rains but we are in a drought.

The landscape is very different now, fields that are bright green this time of year because of the rain are muted ochre. It's pretty much the best palette of colors. Lots of creams, tans, bits of dark brown, tiny spots of greens...I love it.

When I saw Miss Babs had a new Babette (one of a kind!) called Coffee Break, I turned showed Chop & was like "IT LOOKS LIKE GRAY LODGE!!!" That's where Chop duck hunts and we go birding, it's very close to our house and I love knitting in the car while he gets a number for morning hunting. I hemmed and hawed about buying it, I realllllly don't need any new sock yarn and it's quite different than what I usually get but a week later, I couldn't stop thinking about it and I got Ashleigh obsessed with it.

I love that she ships yarn SO fast. I typically receive my orders within 72 hours. That's amazing right?! And she's in Tennessee!

These socks were cast on Christmas Day here in Gridley, I worked on them in Chico. In Vina. In Corning. In Redding. In Ashland. And I finished them this weekend in McCloud. They saw a lot of beautiful winter landscapes and kept me company through my discovery of sugar free s'more flavored coffee syrup (World Market!).

Details:

<3

Holiday Socks: Part Three

 
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Hi!

Did you have a nice holiday?

Mine was quiet, which was exactly what I wanted for Christmas.

I did something kind of radical this weekend.

I frogged every.single.project. I had on my needles. Yup.

I decided I wanted to start 2014 off fresh, without things hanging over my head. It was kind of painful but also felt pretty good!

I frogged my other Christmas socks, I had one sock finished and a quarter of one done and I realized I just wasn't loving knitting them. I debated slogging through it but my knitting time is special and not a job, so see ya later Christmas socks! I'll try again with that yarn later.

I did finish my Hermoine Socks on Christmas Eve though! And I'm wearing them today and I LOVE THEM!

Yarn: Candy Skein Savory Fingering in Candy Apple!

Needles: Hiya Sharps in 1.5

Pattern: I did Hermoine's Everyday Socks toe up with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel

I am such a fan of these socks, I love how the heels came out and I love how the yarn works with the patterns texture. I want to knit another pair of these and more textured socks in 2014. I realized this winter any socks that have lace or open work have been completely neglected and hidden to the back of the drawer, I just don't like wearing them I guess!

I made a list of my 2014 goals on Sunday, it feels nice to take an afternoon to sit and reflect. I liked thinking about 2013, what was awesome & what was terrible, what to change & what to stay the same. I'll share my list in a few days. It involves some knitting (naturally more socks-I know, you are shocked!), it involves some sewing and a lot of stitching.

I'll be back tomorrow with photos of my Sock book! :):):)