Cultivate and Create: Episode 5

Thank you for joining me for this episode and all the conversation on the Ravelry board.

Thank you to Michelle of Studio in the Green on Etsy for the bag!! Listen to the end to find out who won this bag!!

Thank you Sara Lozzi for the Love You More sock pattern and giveaway. Join us on Ravelry to win this pattern. Use the code VDAY16 for $1 off the pattern.

Currently Knitting

Untitled@javajennie asked #widn. Just finished a stripe repeat on my #thesecondannualdvdmonthlysockclub socks in The Westing Game colorway. Going to put them down and go read in bed. #dvdinstagram2016mrsshoo

Something I want: Cast on for the Rainbowalong with Suburban Stitcher

I love me some @woolpierogi batts. And I'm ready for @suburbanstitcher's #rainbowalong2016

Something I need: Organize my life!! Untitled

 

  • Lots of lists!!

 

 

  • Need ideas for a project-based job

 

 

  Untitled

Something to wear: Fingerless Mitts…Any ideas?

Something to read:

Knitting + Inspiration = Knitspiration KAL

What inspires you? What patterns do you just have to knit now? What yarns do you dream about knitting into something beautiful? Whose projects do you find yourself wanting to imitate? Who posts photos of the most amazing spinning projects on Instagram?Let’s knitspire one another, using #knitspirationKAL16 on Ravelry and Instagram.

  • Choose yarn, fiber, a pattern, or another knitter’s project that inspires you (can also be an inspired WIP).
  • Finish between January 15 and February 29 of 2016.
  • Post one time in the FO thread, but add and tag those knitspired entries as you finish them.
  • Must be at least 50 grams.
  • Must be a member of the group.

Prizes:

Find me on Ravelry and Instagram as mrsshoo and the Ravelry group Cultivate and Create.

Cultivate and Create: Episode 4

Long day today. Commute home took much longer than planned, but it was made less unpleasant by Paula and company. Thanks, @knittingpipeline. And, @bronwyndp, this probably isn't surprising, but I used to read the dictionary. Happy mail was waiting to help

Thank you so much for joining me! (Sorry, the dogs joined me as well.) Currently Knitting

  Test knitting a hat by @hunterhammersen this morning. Using up the last of my @anothercraftygirl Ponkie Brewster stash. I'll have to stock up at Knitting Pipeline.

Something I want: A hands-free commute (aka: lots of knitting time)!!

Something I need:

Something to wear: Lots of shawls!!

Germinate by Kirsten Kapur (I apologize for mispronouncing her first name.) TTL Mystery Shawl

Something to read:

Knitting + Inspiration = Knitspiration KAL

What inspires you? What patterns do you just have to knit now? What yarns do you dream about knitting into something beautiful? Whose projects do you find yourself wanting to imitate? Who posts photos of the most amazing spinning projects on Instagram?Let’s knitspire one another, using #knitspirationKAL16 on Ravelry and Instagram.

Prizes:

Details:

  • Choose yarn, fiber, a pattern, or another knitter’s project that inspires you (can also be an inspired WIP).
  • Finish between January 15 and February 29 of 2016.
  • Post one time in the FO thread, but add and tag those knitspired entries as you finish them.
  • Must be at least 50 grams.
  • Must be a member of the group.

Find me on Ravelry and Instagram as mrsshoo and the Ravelry group Cultivate and Create.

Cultivate and Create: Episode 3

Thank you for joining me in this third episode and all the conversation on the Ravelry board. I recorded this episode three times, so if I sound scripted, that’s why.

Currently Knitting

 

 

      • Choice Bit of Calico, a new design by me in One Twisted Tree Lustrous in the Rare Woman Claire colorway.

 

            Yesterday's failures become today's successes. #fortunecookiewisdom #choicebitofcalico #cultivateandcreate

Something I want: Skew by Lana Holden

Something I need: Balance!!!

In my quest for focus, I found it…to the detriment of balance. Is there such a thing as too focused??

Something to wear: Handknit socks

Other socks I want to knit:

Something to read: Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Knitting + Inspiration = Knitspiration KAL

What inspires you? What patterns do you just have to knit now? What yarns do you dream about knitting into something beautiful? Whose projects do you find yourself wanting to imitate? Who posts photos of the most amazing spinning projects on Instagram?Let’s knitspire one another, using #knitspirationKAL16 on Ravelry and Instagram.

Foolproof by Louise Zass-Bangham in Marigold Jen merino/silk single.

Prizes for the #knitspirationKAL16. Check out the link in my profile for details. These are all makers who inspire me.

Prizes:

  • Choose yarn, fiber, a pattern, or another knitter’s project that inspires you (can also be an inspired WIP).
  • Finish between January 15 and February 29 of 2016.
  • Post one time in the FO thread, but add and tag those knitspired entries as you finish them.
  • Must be at least 50 grams.
  • Must be a member of the group.

Find me on Ravelry and Instagram as mrsshoo and the Ravelry group Cultivate and Create.

Cultivate and Create: Episode 2

Sorry if my voice sounds scratchy; I’ve a bit of a cold.

Thank you for all the support after the first episode. Your encouragement warmed the cockles of my heart.

You can now find the podcast on iTunes and other podcast managers.

Currently Knitting

UntitledUntitled

Untitled

Something I want: Work on sewing skills

Something I need: Focus

Something I wear: Joyful Joyful by Megan Williams

Something I read:

Two new books to start…

      Two new books to dive into. Also joining #thesecondannualdvdmonthlysockclub

Knitting + Inspiration = Knitspiration KAL

What inspires you? What patterns do you just have to knit now? What yarns do you dream about knitting into something beautiful? Whose projects do you find yourself wanting to imitate? Who posts photos of the most amazing spinning projects on Instagram?Let’s knitspire one another, using #knitspirationKAL16 on Ravelry and Instagram.

Foolproof by Louise Zass-Bangham in Marigold Jen merino/silk single.

Prizes:

Prizes for the #knitspirationKAL16. Check out the link in my profile for details. These are all makers who inspire me.

  • Choose yarn, fiber, a pattern, or another knitter’s project that inspires you (can also be an inspired WIP).
  • Finish between January 15 and February 29 of 2016.
  • Post one time in the FO thread, but add and tag those knitspired entries as you finish them.
  • Prizes TBA, but I’ve got some goodies.
  • Must be at least 50 grams.
  • Must be a member of the group.

Find me on Ravelry and Instagram as mrsshoo and the Ravelry group Cultivate and Create.

Stash Guilt?

This past weekend I spent some time organizing and taking inventory of my stash. I started taking photos of some new (and not-so-new) skeins to upload to Ravelry and had a twinge of guilt for my wool-piggery, but then I caught myself. Why? Why should I feel guilty for indulging in something that makes me happy?

I was tagged by @thereadingknitter for #widn. I have a cold, so I'm going to my happy yarny place and cataloging some new stash (and maybe casting on a new project--or two). I can always count on @yarnhoarder and @swordofaknitter to take me to a happy yarMy stash has become somewhat of a joke among my knitting group and my family. Last year I had a purge and put the spoils out for my knitting friends to take, and I often give yarn to my mom (which often results in my getting a knitted gift in return). Chris, my husband, calls it “his investment”. A few weeks ago, Chris and I were talking about our will, and I joked that I’m making a friend an executor of my yarn. He told me that, no, he’d be putting it up on eBay or Etsy. I know he was joking, but I felt a flare of anger as silly as that sounds. The idea of my stash being sold off without care really bothered me. My yarn brings me joy, each skein, and I enjoy sharing that joy when a skein no longer speaks to me. I suppose this brings me back to my initial thought: Why do I feel guilty for indulging in something that makes me happy? The answer seems to be that I feel like I should. I often hear knitters talk about their stash with that tone…that guilty tone, like we’re doing something wrong because we indulge ourselves. You hear it at retreats and fiber fairs a lot. My #stitchesmidwest2015 haul. I was deliberate in my purchases, but I forgot to pick up another @kitchencountercrafter needle-minder. Clearly, I'll have to hit up @javajennie when she gets home.

Well, I’m done with that tone. I have a well-curated stash, and I’m proud of it. When I see a new pattern on Ravelry or Instagram, and I’m feeling knitspired, I know I can go upstairs, dig through my yarn, and find the perfect skein. I recognize that isn’t for everyone. Some knitters function better by buying only for planned projects, and that works for them. That makes them happy. But for me, I like that my yarn room overfloweth, and I don’t want to feel badly about that.

My lights are still on, my son is fed, and my yarn brings me joy. So I’m standing up (figuratively) and saying, I’m Sarah. I have a large stash. And I’m proud of it.

Cultivate and Create: Episode 1


Thank you for checking out Episode 1 of the Cultivate and Create podcast.

Currently Knitting

Foolproof by Louise Zass-Bangham in Marigold Jen merino/silk single.

Something I want: A wardrobe of handknit cardigans

Something I need: Take better FOtos

Something I wear: Bryum by Cailliau Berangere

Wearing my newly-finished and blocked Bryum today. This might become my go-to shawl this winter. The yarn is @anothercraftygirl in Ponkie Brewster and Deep Blue Sea...such a perfect pairing if I do say for myself. #fallshawlfreeforall

Something I read: Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Knitting + Inspiration = Knitspiration KAL

What inspires you? What patterns do you just have to knit now? What yarns do you dream about knitting into something beautiful? Whose projects do you find yourself wanting to imitate? Who posts photos of the most amazing spinning projects on Instagram?Let’s knitspire one another, using #knitspirationKAL16 on Ravelry and Instagram.

  • Choose yarn, fiber, a pattern, or another knitter’s project that inspires you (can also be an inspired WIP).
  • Finish between January 15 and February 29 of 2016.
  • Post one time in the FO thread, but add and tag those knitspired entries as you finish them.
  • Prizes TBA, but I’ve got some goodies.
  • Must be at least 50 grams.
  • Must be a member of the group.

Find me on Ravelry and Instagram as mrsshoo and the Ravelry group Cultivate and Create.

Shenanigans Ahead

@thefatsqrrl The #shenanigans are this way! I'm taking @prairiegirlsusie's Ozukuri on an adventure tonight.I’m not usually one to look back. I prefer to look ahead and consider what’s next, but for whatever reason, this year, I’m feeling very introspective. As I’m typing this up, I’m looking back through my Flickr and Instagram photos and rediscovering all of the fun I had in 2015. Much of it was with my family… #hellossk15 My name is Sarah, and this is me and my mom @grammylynne. Conveniently our annual trip to Nashville has once again hit on SSK weekend ????. We won't be attending the retreat, but we will be visiting the market. And I'
Dashing through the stash at the farmers market. #stashdash2015 #havesockswilltravelBoth of had stash enhancement at #yarncon. G went a little crazy @sunvalleyfibers. #graysongram

And nearly all of it involved knitting.

I don’t think I realized when I began knitting how much of a part of my life it would become or the friends I would meet because of it.
Best. Fiber. Weekend. Ever. #IowaSheepandWool #DesMoinesPride
But knitting has become the constant in my life. Next to family and friends who are like family, it gives me the most comfort when I’m facing a difficult decision and the most joy when I need it. Looking back over my projects for 2015, I realize I didn’t knit nearly as much as I have in years past, despite working parttime. There were many times I remember simply sitting on the couch holding my yarn. Staring at my needles.

2015 was a year of fun, but also a year of flux. I moved away from places I was comfortable with, and I began new endeavors. Some felt great, and some I was terrified to take the leap. I’ve doubted myself a lot in 2015. I’ve fished for peptalks from my husband and my friends. I’ve stood, staring in the mirror, questioning myself and talking myself up. I’ve avoided situations that make me uncomfortable or anxious.

But looking through all those photos and remembering the fun I had also reminded me that when I took the leap, when I faked confidence until it was real, I had fun. A lot of it. I felt joy. So, my word for 2016 is confidence. I will be strong and confident. And if I’m not feeling that way, then I’ll fake it until it becomes real.

A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.

When I started knitting my first shawl, I wondered why in the world I was doing it. Now here I am ten or so shawls later and wearing one nearly every day when it’s chilly out.
The first shawl I knit was huge, 1000 or so yards. While I love it, and it is so cozy and warm, I don’t wear it very often because it isn’t as practical as some of my later shawls. Although I do love to snuggle up in it when I’m reading or watching television in my chair.

Calming Waters

As I became more skilled at knitting and realized I enjoyed knitting shawls, I started to consider how exactly to wear my shawls, and I began to really think about what I was knitting instead of being dazzled by the yarn. I really love shawls for their warmth and for their ability to pull together an outfit. I tend to be a warmer person, so I like that I can throw on a shawl on a chilly day, and while it takes off the chill, I don’t get overheated like I would in a sweater or jacket. I also feel like I’m actually dressed, even in a t-shirt and jeans, if I wear some sort of neck wear. My students would frequently comment on how cute an outfit was because of the shawl I wore with it. (And if teenager girls compliment you, you know you’re doing something right.)

Elk Tooth

I frequently see people ask on Ravelry how to wear shawls, and I found myself doing the same thing. Finally, I grabbed several of my own shawls in several different shapes and just starting futzing in front of the mirror. In doing so, I definitely figured out my preferred method of wearing shawls and also my preferred shawl shape, not that I don’t deviate from that, but it has to be an amazing pattern.

Because I’m a shawl-lover and wish I could convince the world that these are the accessory to wear, I grabbed my resident photog (Chris) and two different shawl shapes and did a photo shoot to model different ways I wear a shawl.

All stretched out

I find crescent shapes a little more difficult to wear, as I sometimes feel like they look like a bib when worn around the neck. I tend to wear them off to one side or the other.

More formal

Sometimes that gets too warm, so I just drape it over my shoulders; in fact, this is how I wore it at knit night on Tuesday. The AC was on in Panera, so there was a little chill; I just draped this guy over my shoulders, and I could knit and talk with my hands and not freeze.

Just hanging there

The great thing about longer, shallower shawls is that you could wrap them over your head and around your neck if you forget a hat. My husband thought I was crazy when I did this last night, but there have been some windy winter days where I needed something on my head.

Head Scarf

Triangle-ish shawls are typically my favorite shape. They just seem to be easier for me to wear.

All stretched out

I’ve seen people wear them tied around in back so the shawl almost looks like a shrug in front, but while this looks cute in front, on me, the back looks lumpy. Other people pull off this look, and it makes me jealous. I’m afraid the problem is my body, not the shawl.

Shrug

If someone has the secret to making this work, please let me know!! (And I made this picture small intentionally; no one needs to see this one in large-size.)

Tied in Back

This is a more traditional way to wear a shawl. I know some people think it looks granny-ish, but if the shawl style or colors are modern enough, I don’t see a problem. (Disclaimer: I am not the pinnacle of style.)

Tied in Front
More Traditional

My personal favorite way to wear a shawl is kerchief-style. It’s really easy, just a little wrap and twist, and really low-maintenance. I wear nearly all my triangle shawls this way since it is so easy to do. I also don’t find myself tugging and pulling and rearranging like I do when I wear them other ways.

Kerchief

IMG_8683

Like I said, I’m not the pinnacle of style, but I do think I might have some cred in this whole thing since my students did frequently tell me how cute my shawls looked. (Ok, maybe I don’t since I just used the word “cred”.) It took me a while to get comfortable wearing a shawl, but I really do think that’s the key to pulling it, and any style, off. My thinking is that I like it…who cares if anyone else does? However, I do love when someone compliments me on what I’m wearing, and I get to tell them I made it.

Even my husband can look good in my shawls because of his ability to rock it.

Even the husband is modeling

Title quote by Coco Chanel

Dreams like a podcast, Downloading truth in my ears.

Anymore, we rarely have the television on in our house. Most of the shows we watch are over for the season, and while Chris and I have started watching Game of Thrones, we don’t watch it every night. So, I frequently put on podcasts. I really enjoy listening while I’m doing other things, and a podcast doesn’t distract G from his playing.
I have quite a list of podcasts I listen to. I tend to lean towards knitting-related topics or trivia-type knowledge. My list can further be broken down into those I’m a devout follower of and those I’m still just trying out for whatever reason.
For those of you who are interested, here’s the list. Please, let me know if there’s something else I need to check out. I’m beginning to run out of back episodes of some of these, so I need new shows.

Knitting-Related
Commuter Knitter
Every couple weeks, Jen talks through her knitting as she commutes. There isn’t a lot of small-talk in her podcast, which I appreciate. You get a sense of who she is without being inundated.
Jen and Jane Knitfunny
I love this podcast. They’re sarcastic and irreverent and just funny!
Just One More Row
Dana and Brittany have a great rapport. Dana has her own dying business, which is really interesting to hear about. And I plan on trying her yarn at SSK Marketplace. Both have been knitting sweaters lately, which is really motivating me to work on my own cardigan.
Knit Knit Cafe
Abby tends to really analyze her knitting and spinning. For example, she was struggling to find a way to successfully tension her sock knitting, and after going down several needle sizes, re-taught herself to knit in a different way. She does have her soapbox moments, but she warns you they’re coming.
Stockinette Zombies
This is probably my favorite video-podcast. I really like both Megan and Amy, and I love that they take a few minutes at the beginning to “chat,” then it’s onto the knitting. You get a sense of who they are, but the focus is on their knitting.
The Knit Girllls
My friend Kristi turned me on to The Knit Girllls, and I love to see their knitting and spinning projects. I definitely enjoy the podcast more when they’re together versus the two different “screens”.
The Knitmore Girls
I really enjoy most of The Knitmore Girls’ content, but I’m frequently pulled out by the ads.
The Must Stash Podcast
These girls can get a bit giggly, but it’s really clear that Steph and Stacie enjoy what they’re doing. Even though I don’t spin, I’ve enjoyed hearing (and seeing) their Tour-de-Fleece progress.
The Yarniacs
I’ve only listened to one episode of The Yarniacs, but I have several more I intend to listen to.

Non-Knitting
A Way with Words
This was my very first podcast addiction. I’m a word nerd, and I’m proud of it. I can indulge in all my nerdiness with this podcast.
CraftLit
I’ve listened to the beginning of The Age of Innocence and enjoy the analysis. Another listener recommended Dracula and Jane Eyre.
Good Job, Brain!
This is trivia night meets Jeopardy! meets Wikipedia. If you do trivia teams, listen to this!!
How to Do Everything
Just a quick (15-20 minute) listen that’s about as random as it can get. The best part? The bathroom of the week!!
Radiolab
The Mister got me started on this one. The hosts edit in interviews from various parties to tell a story. Usually fascinating, but there haven’t been as many “story”-type episodes lately.
Short Cuts
Another quick listen featuring various stories centering on a theme.
Stuff You Should Know
Exactly what it sounds like. The hosts, Josh and Chuck, “teach” us about a new topic each week.
WBEZ’s Changing Channels
This is a new podcast, only two episodes, featuring three women who discuss current television news, what they’re watching, what they aren’t watching, and anything else television-related. The last episode focused on “divorcing” shows, which I thought was an interesting concept (not coined by them, but discussed in their show).

Downloaded But Haven’t Listened
The Milt Rosenberg Show
The Read
Topics with Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter
Tried this one. Wasn’t a fan. A bit too rambling and general for me. Disclaimer: I didn’t get more than ten minutes into it. I just didn’t enjoy the flow of it.
Yarnraising

Podcast

Title from the novel The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan

Mothers are all slightly insane.

The decision to become a stay-at-home mom comes very easily to some women. They don’t think twice about resigning to spend their days playing cars, finger-painting, and doing laundry. I don’t mean to sound negative because, as I said in my initial post, I am now a SAHM, but it was a decision I really struggled with and still do.
I love teaching. And I was good at it. I enjoyed the time I spent with my students (most of it, anyway), and I loved trying to share my love of literature and writing with them. I usually looked forward to going to work in the morning because, despite how strange of creatures they are, teenagers are really fun. I never had the same day twice, and I always laughed, belly-laughed, at least once a day.
So, why quit?
It was different after G-Bug was born. I still loved my job, and I loved going to work. But I resented the extra hours I had to put in to do my job well. I’d spend several hours after 3:00 and nearly a full day of every weekend grading, planning, reading, contacting parents…all the not-so-fun administrati that comes with teaching. That’s the part they fail to mention in education classes. And before G was born, I didn’t mind it; granted, it wasn’t my favorite part of my job, but I did it. After he was born and I went back to work, I found out it was more difficult to juggle. I hadn’t considered it before, but I had to give up something.
Ultimately, I struggled with continuing to be good at my job and being a good mother and wife. I felt like I was failing at both. I couldn’t find a balance because something essential to both was having time for myself, as well. I needed time to recharge, and I wasn’t getting it. I spent all my time working, mom-ing, or sleeping. And I was resenting all of it.
I resented my job and my students for taking time away from my home-life. While I still enjoyed them, I found myself annoyed by things that wouldn’t normally bother me. I would get impatient with students who didn’t pay attention in class or who didn’t complete assignments. I was taking time away from my family to try to teach them, so why didn’t they care? I was angry because I cared more than they did.
I also started feeling like I was slipping at preparation and grading. I would be annoyed with Chris or G when I really needed to work, and they wanted my attention. I didn’t have the hours on the weekend to put into my job, and come Monday, I would be frazzled and felt like I was scrambling to be ready for the kids to come in.
And I didn’t have time for myself. I was always “on,” which is exhausting. I was always “mom” or “Mrs. S” and all the responsibilities that come with those titles. I wasn’t happy.
Honestly, neither was Chris; he was having to pull the weight of both of us in terms of meals and housework. Plus, he had his own full-time job and side business. He was 100 percent on-board for me to resign.
I was the hold-out. I’m well aware that I’m fortunate that this was even a choice I was able to make. I really struggled with it, though. I love spending time with G, but all day? That’s a lot of time. And a lot of diapers. And what about the fact that I actually enjoy my job? And money? And retirement? And my sanity?
I still worry about all those things. I know come August I’ll really question whether this was the right choice. But our household is much less chaotic than it was when I was working. Our sink isn’t always piled with dishes (only sometimes); we don’t eat out more days than we cook; our laundry is actually caught up (except the towels and sheets, which I’ll do today); and more importantly, I don’t find myself angry at my family for demanding my time. Both Chris and I have time to do the things we enjoy, and we have more time to spend all together. I think ultimately it was worth the sacrifice of my career.

Title from J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye

Adventures in knitting, reading, and keeping a tiny dictator in line.