Rearranging my Life

Often times I think that when I move into a new place things will get better. I’ll actually find time and energy to do all the projects I want to. So far it hasn’t been working out that way. Not until now.

I haven’t started doing any crafts yet. I have done a few projects over the last year that I need to share and post. But it’s not a steady thing right now. I’m working on sorting out what it is that I want to do.

When my grandfather died at the beginning of the year I ended up taking a 4 day trip to go visit my mother and go to his military funeral. I decide to start on one of the many projects I’ve wanted to do. I made a kitchen towel. I had plans to make a second. I didn’t end up finishing the second one until I had surgery in May and was stuck at home for a week. I also started working on my hooded shawl again since an extra skein of the yarn used was found in my mother’s stash. I have about a row and a half plus the cable style bind off to finish still. I think that’ll be my project for August. I really don’t have much need for it till the fall anyway.

I found my dragonwing scarf, but still need to figure out where the second skein of yarn is hiding. Hopefully I’ll find it tomorrow. Monday is the day I’ve set aside to go through my yarn. Since I keep getting more and more yarn from my mother each year and I haven’t been doing any projects.

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to get rid of any of it yet. I’ll have to make that decision tomorrow. But I feel like it’ll do me some good to at least see what I have and start making plans for some of it.

So far I’ve gone through most of my beading supplies. I’m getting rid of a good chunk. I’ve decided that I just don’t have time for it. I’m keeping colors that really speak to me and beads that are big enough to also be used with yarn. So the next thing I need to do is start looking at projects that use beads. I also think I might try using some in cross stitch projects since I am keeping a few of the seed beads.

I’ve also purged my kitchen items. I did one purge back when I moved into my last apartment. But to be honest, I regret purging a lot of the items I did. At the time I said, I haven’t used these in forever and I don’t have room for them. I loved them though. This time I’m purging the extras. I’ve received a lot of my dishes from my mother. But as I get older I want to get things that fit my style. So a while back I had bought a new set of plates and bowls. So now this time all the old ones are going. As well as most of the silverware. I don’t really need 20+ forks. I’ve paired it down to the most complete set. I’ve also gotten rid of duplicate utensils. And I’m getting rid of the china. It’s not a family set or anything. But I’m never going to end up living a “traditional” lifestyle. And I don’t really have a use for it. I don’t plan on throwing fancy parties or having all my family over for holiday meals. The dishes I have now will work just fine for the parties I will have.

The latest purge was the clothing. I’m still thinking I’ll go back and do another round. The job I’m working now allows me to wear my regular clothes. So I don’t really need my dressier items and since I don’t have to wear the uniform anymore, I can toss all those shirts. I emptied a whole drawer full of pants. Got rid of an armload of shirts. Took a look at my leggings and got rid of the duplicate colors. I think I still have some tops that could probably go, but I’ll probably give it another week or two before I look at them again.

Other things I’ve done since moving, include actually baking again. I even did a little writing. And over the last month I’ve listened to 125 hours of audiobooks and about 20 hours of podcasts. And probably most importantly, I’ve started exercising again. I’m slowly ramping it up. Up until this week I was walking 3 days and running 3 days (I just finished C25k W3D3). This week I’ve added a second walk to my days off. And the goal is to do whatever walking is necessary on the days I do work to get my step count up to my goal of 10k a day. I want to add weights and bands to my routine at some point. As well as yoga before bed. But right now I’m trying to do things slowly so I don’t burn myself out as I have done in the past.

So what can you expect to be happening here? At some point I’ll start drafting up some posts of my finished projects. I’ll start posting some WIP pictures. I might even blog a little about my running. I’ll probably share pictures of my craft purges. I might even share a little about how the writing is going.

When will it start happening? I don’t know yet. Summer usually means more time off work for me. So I do have extra days off. I’m usually off for the weekends, so that’s when I’m doing most of my side projects. In addition I’ve been getting Mondays off most weeks. And I’ll occasionally get a second extra day. Some of those days I might try and pick up extra hours at work in another department. Others I might decide to devote to doing other things, like blogging, writing, crafting and organizing my new apartment. So, hopefully you’ll be hearing from me again soon.

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NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of year again. Things are slowly stabilizing again for me after some upheaval. Several moves and roommates later, I’m in a place where I’m getting back into both crafting and writing.

While this year is so far a slow start, I’ve been writing every day since I started.  Some trying situations at the beginning of the month meant that I didn’t actually get anything started until the third when I finally had a day off and could make it to a write in. I’m getting the feeling that these Sundays are going to be were I get most of my writing done, I’m still making sure that I write a little everyday even if it’s just a few sentences.

I’m hoping that I’ll be back to updating this site, posting more often and sharing my crafts with all of you again. Plus, Christmas is coming up and I like doing those handmade gifts.  So be prepared for some writing chat and some yarn projects, and maybe even an art project.

Packrat Crafter is coming back!

About a year and a half ago I got laid off from my job. I kept posting and working on my craft projects while I was looking for more work. As the hotter months began to approach, I decided to get out of the hot Texas sun (where finding interest and motivation to knit and crochet can be hard) and head back to Colorado.

I’ve been living in a crappy basement apartment for the last year and now that I’m moving in to a real apartment and actually have my favorite chair back, I’m going to start working on my crafts again (not that I haven’t been doing a little bit).

I’ve got a few things I’m working on, including the hooded shawl (which I ran out of yarn for!) and a dragon wing scarf.  I also have a couple finished projects (some dragon egg dice bags). And plans to attempt making socks again (and for which my mother sent me two small boxes full of her unused sock yarn) and some towels that will hang on an oven door with a button to keep it on.

I’m starting a new position at work, so as I adjust to the new workload and schedule and as my sass and vigor come back I’ll start posting some pictures and linking you to the patterns of the projects I’m working on and maybe even throwing in a few other little things… so keep your eyes peeled in the coming days and weeks!

Felted Bowls – Part 3 of 3

feltedbowl3Of all the bowls these are my favorite. I wish they were a little sturdier. I imagine if I washed them one more time they might come out that way, but I’m happy with the way they look and the size they are at, so I’m leaving them as they stand. These ones only went through the wash twice before coming out as they did, which I attribute to the fact that these were the only ones I knit.

I imagine that this set of bowls will get the most use and I’ll probably make another set just like this but in another color and with a 100% wool. I’m going to keep these on my dresser to hold my odds and ends.

You can find my original notes here.

And for some comparison, below is an image of all the bowls I felted:feltedbowl4

Felted Bowls – Part 2 of 3

feltedbowl2This bowl is the only one that didn’t felt nearly as much as I wanted. I can still see the stitches pretty well, but it has definitely shrunk a fair amount.

I put this bowl through the wash two more times than the rest before I decided that was as good as it was going to get. I’m guessing that it was because of the single crochet stitches versus the doubles from the first set of bowls along with the soy blend. However, this bowl is also the sturdiest of the bunch.

While I do like the bowl, I’m pretty sure I won’t do this pattern again as the bottom is way too rounded for my taste. I’m not sure what I’ll used it for yet, but since it’s sturdy I can put just about anything in it, as long as it’s not too big for the bowl.

You can find my original notes on my progress here and the original pattern here.

Work in Progress Wednesday – Butterfly at Rest/Night

ButterflyFairiesNightAges ago I received a counted cross stitch kit for a fairy as a birthday present from my mother called Butterfly at Rest. At the time I had started getting into cross stitch, and since I have a love of fantasy and science fiction I decided that even though this was a daunting project on a 28 count fabric. Ironically my sister gave me a chart book for Christmas of some Butterfly Fairies. The book had two patterns, one of which was my Butterfly at Rest renamed Night and other called Day.

I was fairly new to cross stitch at the time, and I’m not sure what happened, but somewhere along the line I got a little messed up on the pattern and I gave it up. Thankfully I had only done a few hours of work on it.  So when I was going through old projects I picked this one back up and undid all the original work I had started.

butterflyunfin1Now after several sessions I’m starting to see the pattern take shape. I imagine this project will take me a fairly long time to finish, but I’m looking forward to seeing the finished result. I’m finding it is something I can really only do during the day when I’m sitting near the window with good lighting due to the very slight color variations.

I’m not sure I’ll end up keeping this particular project when I’m finished, mostly because it’s not really my style, but it’s going to be something I’ll be very proud of.

Felted Bowls – Part 1 of 3

feltedbowl1I finally got around to felting all the bowls to my satisfaction. I initially tried felting the bowls in my washing machine, but they didn’t seem to want to felt. I was worried that they wouldn’t come out since the yarn was a blend of soy and wool. So, I also tried felting them by hand, which produced better results, but they still didn’t seem to be felting as much as I was hoping for.

Since I had made a total of six different bowls, hand felting was getting a bit tedious, so I left them to sit for a while. I decided to try felting them in the washing machine one more time. After two rounds they finally looked decently felted.

After searching through my stash for yarn for another project I did come across some more of the soy yarn I used here in two different colors, both solid. I’m not sure that I’ll try felting with them considering the amount of time it took to felt these. But, since I did come across another felted bowl pattern, I may just give it a try.

To see my original notes on the three bowls pictured, you can check out my original post on my progress here. And the original pattern can be found here.

 

Work in Progress Wednesday – Bath Mat

bathmatunfDue to some rather unfortunate incident I no longer have a bath mat. At the moment I’m using some towels on the floor, so when I came across a pattern in One Skein for a bath mat and I eyed the six skeins of Sugar & Cream in Cream sitting on my shelf, I couldn’t help but grab a hook and start on my way.

I’m not entirely convinced this will make the greatest bathmat in the world considering all the holes, but it is at least cotton and will absorb water readily. It’ll also be super easy to clean and I’m hoping to have this finished quickly.

You can find the pattern in One Skein by Leigh Radford. There are a lot of great projects in there, including some felted bowls I’m considering trying out, especially since I finally finished felting up all the bowls I made previously. And I would say that not all of the patterns will necessarily only use one skein, as can be evidenced by the pattern for the bath mat, that is unless you happen to buy a giant 840 yard skein of cotton yarn.

Seed Stitch Scarf

scarfdadI wanted to do something simple, but not just a straight knit pattern for my father for Christmas. I perused Ravelry for a while looking at various scarf patterns, when I came across the seed stitch. It gives a nice texture that is simple, but not nearly as boring as just doing straight knitting. It seemed perfect for my dad.

The yarn I used is Loops & Threads Charisma in Lakeside. It’s a super bulky acrylic yarn. I cast on a total of 20 stitches and went back in forth in the K1, P1 of a standard seed stitch.

I’m pretty pleased with how the striping in the yarn worked out. There isn’t too much crossing over of colors to other rows, so it almost looks like a used four different colors of yarn.

The Gathering

The Gathering - Cowl - OutlanderI can’t even begin to express how much I have fallen in love with this cowl. Not just because it was inspired by a great TV show (that’s based on a fantastic book called Outlander), but because it’s so quick and versatile. However, this cowl is no longer in my possession. It was the first of two knitted gifts I sent off for Christmas. This particular cowl went to my stepmother who absolutely loves the Outlander show.

It was my stepmother’s love of Outlander that sent me on a quest to find a pattern inspired by the show. I wanted to make something special for her that she’d enjoy wearing in the cooler weather, especially since she lives in Colorado. I came across several different variations for this particular cowl, but I ended up choosing The Gathering by Kalurah Hudson.

 

As per usual, I modified the pattern a bit. The original pattern calls for a minimum of 16 to cast on but I did 24 to make it longer. I also skipped the twists because I prefer to have it flat when folded down.  The yarn I used was the same as in the pattern, which is the Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Barley.

I got to test out my provisional cast on skills again as well as actually doing the kitchener stitch to bind it all together. Hopefully I will be making myself a version of this cowl so I can get more practice with both (but I’ve got to wait until I burn through a lot more yarn since I don’t have any super bulky yarn in the stash)

The really fun part of the whole process was using the giant size 50 needles which are a whopping 25mm. I’m really hoping that I’ll find some other great patterns to use with these needles, aside from another version of this cowl that I’ll make for myself.

This cowl is fantastically stretchy, so it can be easily pulled down over the shoulders without the top flopping around your neck all loosey goosey.