A Crazy Two Months, and Moving Forward

Wow! Has it been a while!! Well, I’m still here 😉

So, here goes:

3000+ miles of flying

+ 32 hours of travel time

+ Countless hours of shopping for a new home

+ Many beautiful memories along the way

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= Finally settling in Florida!!!

Yup! We’re here to stay! We had a great time while in FL!  And, lots of changes! But first, the fun stuff!  We had a great time roaming around the world at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival! We went around about four or five times. I lost track, and we didn’t take as many pictures as we would’ve liked.  But the one that stands out: Me…. enjoying the champagne, a little too much! 😛

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We had a great time driving all over Central Florida, too.  While home shopping we made time to enjoy the quiet moments: walking around a lake in just a regular neighborhood, viewing the marina at St. Pete.. just taking in all the things we miss out on when we’re running around in our busy lives.

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And I’ll never forget that feeling of finally deciding on a home and signing off on it!

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The best part, of course, was having a bottle of wine later that night, under the stars on our soon-to-be lot…. all while watching the Disney fireworks! My beau is so romantic 😉


But I must say, during our “vacation,” I didn’t get much knitting done (as you can see above).  But now that all of the technicalities of home buying are out of the way, we’re getting settled, and I’m hitting the needles once more!

So, the little knitting I have done, include:

  • A cabled scarf, that’ll make a great Christmas gift

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  • I decided to add a fringe, which I cut down evenly

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  • And, I *started* a lace scarf for my mom…. which I ripped back, and decided not to continue… Anyone else have issues working with lace weight yarn?

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On the dyeing front:

I ordered a batch of worsted, 100% Merino wool in 218 yard skeins.  Little did I realize (and it’s entirely my fault), that they are *feltable* and not superwash.  It makes it a little more tricky to work with and care for, unless, of course, you want to felt your end project.  Which would make super cozy mittens, actually!

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  • I dyed up these two skeins as testers.  The yellow came out brighter than expected on the second skein.

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  • But the end results came out pretty good! This one definitely reminds me of sherbet! Yummmmm!

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  • And the bright yellow contrasts great with the violet color! This one is almost a dead ringer for Pointellist artist Georges Lemmen’s “Beach at Heist” (Belgium, 1891). It harkens those vivid dreams that you have when you’re super tired (from knitting all night, right?)

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Georges Lemmen  Beach at Heist  Brussels, Belgium 1891

Georges Lemmen’s “Beach at Heist” (Belgium, 1891)

  • Recently, I dyed up these two skeins… looks like spaghetti…

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  • Not sure of this colorway, but if it didn’t remind me of spaghetti, I’d like it much more haha

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  • For this one, I hand-painted it in a rosy pink and pale green…

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Still waiting for these last ones to dry up, so I can twist them up and….. list them! I’m really excited to be setting up my very first listings for my Etsy shop, opening soon!!!!!

I’m also waiting for some more dyes to arrive so I can get to making larger batches!


All of these changes have been amazing: moving back to The States, finding a new home, settling down, getting over the “starting over” mentality, finally getting to that wedding planning (that’s been put off for two years), dyeing my favorite yarns, and opening my own shop of hand-dyed yarns.  I’ve truly been blessed! And it goes to show, all that persistence, patience, and perseverance, really does pay off in the end!

I hope all of you are also making wonderful progress in your own lives, and that you enjoy every minute of it; because even if you’re having hard times, it can only get better.  Never give up on your dreams and your goals!

Even if you can’t see it right now, the sun is still shining above those dark clouds!

Love and many, many blessings!

Cynthia

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

A Coral FO, More Dyeing, and a Trip to Florida

It’s time to pack up! Now that the renovations on the house are complete, we’re now tidying things up for our six week trip to Orlando, FL!! And I can’t wait to be back home! With all of the construction going on, a small town that doesn’t even have a movie theater, and the weather starting to get hot and humid, I’m ready to get to the States for some shopping, Starbucks, and air conditioning!  Best of all, we’ll also be house hunting!

On another note, I’m also happy to report that the lace diamond scarf is officially complete, and sent to the birthday girl!! It started off as just experimenting with new stitches. In fact, it was my first time stitching SSK and PSSO!  I think I did pretty well… IMG_2442 As you know, this was a long project for me, since we were doing a major rehab on the house.  But I tried to work on it as much as possible.  It was at this point (below) that I decided it would make a great gift for my future mother-in-law’s birthday. IMG_2981 When I finally got to the point that I was going insane to finally finish, I measured it out at about 60″. I used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, and weaved in the ends. IMG_2983 Finally, I wet blocked it, and it took about 2 days to dry. I had an extra yoga mat that I wasn’t using, so I pinned the scarf out on that… funny, it wasn’t long enough for it! But it was only about an inch too short. IMG_3128 I found these great free gift tags from Laylock, and printed them out on cream card stock. On the back I wrote out the care instructions, then pinned to the scarf with some cotton twine, and it was ready to go! IMG_3134 IMG_3135 IMG_3136 Blocking really helped the diamond pattern to show through.  I was a little worried about blocking it, since it’s 100% courtelle, no wool at all. But it came out beautifully!  We had to ship it to her, since she’s in another city, so I’m still waiting on the verdict!  If you’d like the pattern, check out my Notes tab on my Fiber Bliss Facebook page!

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She loved it… naturally!! 😉


Now, on to dyeing!

Remember my last post on hand-dying?  Well, I L O V E D it so much that I was extremely excited to dye up this 100% virgin wool from Lion Brand’s Fishermen’s Wool line.  It’s a super smooshy, squishy, fluffy yarn, that would make an awesome cowl!  I also had 100g of wool roving I purchased a while ago, in an attempt to learn how to spin! IMG_2973 IMG_3020IMG_3030 IMG_3029 I decided to hand paint these instead of fully immersing them, to get variations in different colors, but then couldn’t decide what colors to go for!  I used my collection of embroidery floss to get a feel for the colors and combinations. I thought about autumn colors, but I’m more of a pink kinda gal!  So I went with that for the yarn, and  darker fall colors for the roving. IMG_3036 Since I had to wind the yarn into skein, I had a bit of a time doing that without a niddy noddy! I’ll have to invest in one soon! IMG_3021 IMG_3029 After soaking in with some vinegar for 30 minutes, I squeezed out as much as possible and laid it out for surgery! The plastic bottle I used was horrible, as it kept leaking! But it did the job, and I’ll definitely be outfitting my future craft room with better materials…. After I finished, I wrapped it up in plastic wrap, and microwaved for about 5 minutes.  When it cooled down, I rinsed it out, I let it dry in the wind! IMG_3024 IMG_3027 IMG_3028 IMG_3038 IMG_3040 IMG_3045 IMG_3044 For the roving, I did the same.  I expected the colors to be more deep, and have more of an autumn feel, but I didn’t add enough dye.  I still think it came out amazing! The muted colors actually makes it feel more spring-like in color tone! I can’t wait to spin it up!  I’ll be getting a drop spindle as soon as possible! YouTube will be my friend for that!! IMG_3041 IMG_3043 IMG_3042 I’ve completely fallen in love with hand-dyeing and painting yarn! And I have plans on expanding on it in the future, hopefully our new house will have a room I can make into a craft/studio room dedicated solely to fiber!  That will be added to the must-have list on our house hunting agenda… Do you have a room dedicated to crafts and knitting/crochet?

WIPs, a New Love, and the End of Summer

Saturday! Don’t you just love the first few moments of the weekend? For some, it starts at the end of the work day on a Friday. For someone who works from home, or doesn’t work, well, the weekend starts on Saturday… so for me Saturday mornings are the best! Birds chirping (I swear, it only happens on the weekend), coffee brewing, and of course, knitting! (Or at least surfing Pinterest for more knitting patterns!)

Although I’m in the southern hemisphere, my heart and my mind are still in the northern hemisphere….  It’s Winter here, as you know, but up there in the States, Fall is coming!!! And even though there’s still at least a month left, for me the end of Summer comes at the end of August. I think it’s because when I was young, starting the new school year meant the colors of the changing seasons, fall festivals, and Halloween.  It’s one of the best times of the year! The weather is cooling down, and everyone’s getting geared up for the holidays! By the way, there are only 17 Fridays until Christmas! That means more knitting, more crocheting, and more crafts in general.

I’m very eager to finish up my WIPs so I can start on some more projects for everyone. My Ravelry queue is so long now, which makes it harder to choose what my next project will be!

I brought out my coral diamond scarf (some of you will remember from my previous post on WIPs), and continued on that. As it’s a gift for my future mother-in-law, I have to finish it up soon! I absolutely love the sassy color! It’s a 12 row repeat, and now that I’m about 70% finished, I’ve finally gotten used to the stitches!

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As for the vacation knit, I’m knitting it up much faster. But with all of the distractions of packing and renovations, it’s still moving slowly! But… once we get to Florida, that puppy should be done!

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Now, since I’m ever the embodiment of distraction, I’ve decided I wanted to expand on my love of fiber.  Inspired by all of the beautiful yarns I drool over online, I decided it was high time that I take matters in my own hand and try to dye up my own yarns.  OMG, I did not know what I was in for! I didn’t know how much I would enjoy the process, how much I would love to see the colors form, and how satisfying it would be to see my final product! This is it! Apart from knitting and crochet, I know this will now take up the majority of my time!

I used three different kinds of undyed yarn:

  • 100% Virgin Cotton
  • 100% Merino Wool
  • 20% Wool, 80% Acrylic

And soaked them for about 20 – 30 minutes in water with a little soap. Below is the cotton skein.

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And different kinds of dye respectively:

  • Guarany Tingecor (from my LYS)
  • Jacquard Acid Dyes (ordered online, Amazon)
  • Wool Craft Dyes (from my LYS)

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For the cotton and wool blend skeins, I tried to go for an ombre effect by dipping the whole skein in the dye bath and pulling it out consistently, and always leaving one end in the bath.

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For the merino wool, I tried an ombre effect but separating out the whole skein and leaving them each in separate jars of dye bath in varying colors of green.

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Once it cooled down, I tried to untie each small ball, and wind it back into a skein… Didn’t turn out so good, and had to cut the yarn and make two separate skeins 😦  I’ve definitely learned my lesson, and will have to try to figure out a different way to dye it the way I was intending to.  Any pointers?

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The process itself is easy, but getting the exact results you want is a bit more tricky. I LOVE that! Every skein will come out differently, every skein will have a personality of its own!

  • 100% Virgin Cotton

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  • 100% Merino Wool

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  • 100% Merino Wool

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  • 20% Wool, 80% Acrylic

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The anticipation of getting to twist up that skein is almost as unbearable as wanting to knit with it! I’m officially hooked on hand-dyeing yarn!

Next up, I’m going to try hand-painting this huge skein of Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool, by laying out the skein and applying each color individually.

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Now that Summer is dying down, are you looking forward to all of the holiday knitting/crocheting? Have you tried dyeing your own yarns? What are your thoughts? Comment below and let me know!

xo

My Cable Obsession and Free Cable Patterns

Good Saturday, loves!

So this has been a hectic week with all of the renovations STILL going on! On top of that, we’re STILL waiting for a stove… Luckily, that stove is coming this week, and I can finally start cooking at home again. I’m so over take-aways and salad! Don’t get me wrong, salads are great, and healthy, and are wonderful on hot days…. But I’m missing the process of cooking, and experimenting with recipes, and just plain sitting down to a hot meal…

On top of all of that, we’ve had a change of plans, and will start re-packing everything again… That deserves a post of its own!

On the knitting front, I’ve started The Vacation Knit, and although I was a little apprehensive, since it’s my first cable project, I’m doing very well. I did choose this one based on the fact that it looked like an easy knit. And the pattern is easy to memorize, as well. So I can pick it up at any point and continue on.  I feel as though I could be making faster progress with this, but again, with all of the renovations and packing, I’ve been distracted.

 

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But now I can’t wait to finish so I can start on some other cable patterns I’ve found! Am I going to share? Of course I am!!

This first one, Nennir, (below) is inspired by Celtic knots. I’m IN LOVE with this one! I’m also loving that this pattern can be easily made into a larger scarf, or even blanket. It’s knitted flat, which will help with the cable work.

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© lucyhague

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© lucyhague

 

For a hat option, this Quick Cable Slouch Hat, (below) is a perfect for Fall! I love that it’s simple, but looks difficult! This would be beautiful knitted up in a “fall-ish” color; I’m thinking an orangey-red.

by azure-m

by azure-m

 

The Fisher Cable Hat, (below) is great for the man in your life. Also simple, but the detailed edging makes it interesting. A quick knit, for a last minute gift! I’m thinking a great weekend project for my honey!

© Lindsey Felice, 2011

© Lindsey Felice, 2011

 

Oh, this one would be so cozy, sitting next to a fire in October! (It would probably take me that long to knit it up!) Aidez, (below) got a 4.4 rating on Ravelry, and the difficulty is just under medium… Hmm… I think I’ll give the above projects a go, before embarking on this one! But I can’t help myself, and will probably take up the challenge sooner (and then won’t be done until December)!

by ciriliarose

by ciriliarose

by ciriliarose

by ciriliarose

Well, there you have it! My obsession with cables is getting the better of me, and I think I may have to grow another pair of hands to complete all the projects I want… :::sigh::: Well, I was warned that knitting was going to take over my life… I just didn’t know how much! And I love every minute of it!

xo

It’s August! New Month, New Projects!

Hello my friends!

Well, it’s finally August! Here in South Africa it is Winter time, but you wouldn’t know it here on the coast! It’s been a warm season, which meant I got to go to the beach often, sit outside with some lemonade, and knit to my heart’s content!

I’ve also picked up those DPNs for the first time. I think I did pretty ok!

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The hat this was supposed to be, came out horrible, though!  I blame it on the yarn! I am not too fond of 100% acrylic. At least not the kind I’ve gotten here. It has almost no elasticity, and so when the hat was put on, it just stayed stretched out… it just looked bad.. 😦 I also blame it on the fact that knitting so much k1P1, just got boring for me, so by the time I got to the decreases, I just wanted to be done with the project.

 

The good news is, that I got some new needles in the mail yesterday! Yay! The needles they sell here are boring gray ones, so I order from Amazon and wait in anticipation for cheery colored needles!

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Also, in my mailbox, I FINALLY got my Mint Chocolate Chip lace weight superwash merino yarn!!!!! It took about a month. But it was definitely worth the wait! Hurrah!!!!

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From my post about it a couple of weeks ago, you’ll remember I was trying to find a pattern for this beauty… I’m torn between Martina Behm’s Magrathea 

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And, Laura Nelkin’s Halli Shawl

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And, finally…. since I finished my bad hat (above), I started a new scarf for my hunny (below), The Vacation Knit by Shireen Nadir.  It’ll be my first time at cables, but it seems easy enough from the looks of the pattern. Plus, I’m loving this blue!

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The final product should, (fingers crossed) look like this:

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I think both of these new projects will be great for our upcoming trip to Orlando, FL at the end of September!  Hopefully the weather will have started getting a bit cooler by that time, so I can show off my FOs!

What’s currently on your needles?  Have you added any new yummy yarns to your stash??

xo

 

Fiber Bliss?

Nothing happens until something moves.

Albert Einstein

Cruising along Pinterest late one night, I stumbled upon this quote. It resonated with me because at the time, I was in sort of a limbo, between that happy soon-to-be housewife and the independent woman of the 21st century.

You see, I’m an American living in South Africa. I left my job and moved across the globe for the love of my life. I left my home town of Orlando, FL, I packed my few belongings, I hugged all my family and friends goodbye. And through this project we’ve undertaken (renovating a house to a b&b), I found that I was no longer thinking about what I want out of me. I always wanted to start something on my own that I’m passionate about. Something that gets me excited when I think of it. But I didn’t know what my passion was. What were my dreams and aspirations? What happened to the goals I had before I met my hunny?  At the end of the day, just like everyone, I just want a sense of self and do what I love.

That’s why I started Fiber Bliss. After learning how to knit (I taught myself through YouTube videos!), I found a utopia within myself. I realized I could empower and encourage others to do the same. And I plan to make this grow and flourish! For me, it’s a sort of escape, but also a way to connect with others that share the same passion! Knitting has become this place I go to, to get away from everyday life. Whether it’s a shawl, a scarf, a hat, etc, I become one with myself and the object I’m creating. There is no 9 – 5 job; no dishes to wash, no in-laws to cater to. It’s the bliss that I never knew I was missing.

Just me, the needles, and fiber.

And with that, I encourage you to continue that project you stored away a few weeks ago; go to your yarn shop and grab an awesome color yarn that inspires you to create; let yourself be fully immersed in your project, and don’t feel guilty about it!

There’s a reason you love what you do! Do it!

xo

Winter in South Africa and Free Shawl Patterns

Hello lovelies!

So, how many of you have a super long queue on Ravelry? Yup! That’s me over here, too! I can’t help myself! When I see so many beautiful, inspiring, awesome patterns, it’s hard not to wish to be able to make everything I find.

Lately I’m loving shawl patterns. There’s something magical about wrapping yourself up on a chilly day with your very own handmade shawl. Here in South Africa, it’s been an interesting Winter, with super chilly mornings, hot afternoons, and cool evenings. Obviously, it’s thrown me for a loop with the opposite seasons that I’m used to! And luckily since I’m on the coast, it’s not as bad as further inland. However, going to the beach still calls for a shawl, which makes it easy for when it warms up as the day progresses!

Perusing around Ravelry, I came upon the Now in a Minute shawl (below). As a novice knitter, this shawl doesn’t look too difficult to give up on, but difficult enough that I won’t get bored with the project.  And the crescent shape and cool edging makes it especially interesting!

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Also in my queue is the Bamboo Wedding Shawl (below). Can you say simple elegance? I love the chevron pattern, and it’s so simple that you can wear it with anything! From jeans and a t-shirt, to a little black dress with sling backs.

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For the crocheters out there, I’m loving Lisa’s Shawl (below)! And it looks fairly easy to follow, and…. it’s embellished with beads! How awesome is that? Have any of you tried adding beads to your work? I feeling that this pattern should be pushed to the front of my queue. What do you think? And, just like the Bamboo Wedding Shawl, you can dress it up, or wear it casually. The length is also great for breezy days at the beach!

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So, there you have it! My current faves from Ravelry!  Comment below, and let me know what your Ravelry favorites are.  Are there any that you’ve tried and loved or hated? More difficult or easier than you thought?  I’m always looking to add to my queue!

xo