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I Heart My Minion Onesie

Mom always got us pyjamas for Christmas. That is one of many traditions I have kept alive. This past Christmas, I bought myself a Minion onesie. It even has a hood!

Today is one of those days where I’m grateful that I got it. It’s dark, dreary and damp. Pretty sure I’ve caught the bug my Sweet Pea was fighting off. I’ve changed into my onesie and I’m curled up in a blanket. There is so much I should be doing. I had to take a day for myself though. If I don’t, my body will take control and MAKE me take the time off. So I give.

I decided over the weekend that I was going to at least start a sweater for a crochet-along hosted by A Crocheted Simplicity. Whether I finish it or not will remain to be seen. I’m off to a good start though. It’s a cool sweater.

Since I’m feeling like crap, I won’t take the energy to post all the links I could. I will post a link to my project page though. That has all the links. It also has a pic of my gauge swatch and the yarn I’ll be using.

Here is the start of my back panel:

keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com - Crossover Pullover - back panel

Crossover Pullover – back panel

Just in case I don’t have the time to update my progress here on the blog, you can follow along on my Ravelry project page.

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Elmo

I had a loyal customer contact me about an Elmo hat a couple of months ago. I was reluctant at the time because of how busy I was. I did explain that too her. I figured I could squeeze it in though. I had no idea what life had in store for me. I did see it through though and finally finished it on Friday.

keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com - Elmo Hat

Elmo Hat

He is actually a combination of three patterns. The original pattern was for a baby. So I had to make a bigger hat base. I wasn’t fond of the nose, so I worked it from another pattern. If you’re curious about my project notes, you can find them here.

I Assure You We’re Open

I didn’t realize I had been away from my blog for so long. I knew it was awhile, but over a year? Oh my goodness! So what has happened that can be summed up in one post? A LOT. So I’m going to do my best to catch up over the next while. I hope. Things have just gotten a little more crazy for me this month, but I’m going to hold that under my hat for now. What I will say is that it was already intense because I have a spinning assignment due at the end of the month. And I have a HUGE spinning assignment due at the end of February.

So yes, I’m still plugging away at the OHS Spinning Certificate program. I am in Level III. I had questioned last summer as to whether or not I could pull it off. There is still some ongoing personal crap that just won’t seem to die (seriously anticipating the day I can let that rip – it would blow your mind and you would question whether or not my blog turned into a somebody’s horrible nightmare). I didn’t want that to be the reason I didn’t carry on. I will NOT give ANYONE the satisfaction of stopping me from achieving my dreams. I also got a fortune cookie that told me “Never Quit” on the day I contemplated it. The cookie doesn’t lead one astray. So I’m continuing to put my all into it. I will do my best to chronicle what is going on with that. I still don’t want to forget. Someday when I’m kicking back in the hot springs under the northern lights after spending a day with my sheep in Iceland, I want to remind myself just how determined I am.

My work life has taken a serious unexpected turn. I’m sure at one point or another, I may have mentioned my love of animals. I may have mentioned I did an internship with a service dog organization. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned I am a pet sitter. That was something that just sort of fell into my lap. I sat for a breeder. That breeder gave out my name to another breeder. And then word got out to other people. Then I was down to just one breeder. Then one day somebody asked a friend with a kennel if they knew anyone who looked after pets in their home. She gave them my name and BOOM! I’m pet sitting again. You know, timing is a funny thing. The pet sitting was quiet when Mom was so sick. There was no way I could have done it and helped her out at the same time. About six months after she was gone, that’s when things exploded. I don’t advertise. All of my clients are word of mouth. And that’s the way I love it. We have regular people that call us. It’s so wonderful. My Sweet Pea just loves this job. He’s got such a big heart and the animals know this. This is the perfect compliment to our lives. It allows me to carry on with my fibre work and I’m still available for my Sweet Pea. So yeah. That’s been keeping me busy.

I did a LOT of pattern testing for Crochet by Jennifer‘s new book, Crochet Style: Over 30 Trendy, Classic and Sporty Accessories for All Ages. It was released in November. I didn’t post any photos because we needed to keep quiet until it was released. Oh my goodness, that was one of the hardest things ever! She had us start testing in December of 2015. So now that it’s been released, I would like to post some of the finished product photos. I just need to get past my perfection paralysis when it comes to taking photos!

Speaking of perfection paralysis and the quest for the perfect photo, I finally launched an Etsy shop. Before you get too excited, I have to update it. I have a LOT of items I need to list, but I have to get the perfect photos. Or as close to perfect as I can.

Before I close this post out, I have one more thing to share. I got to cross something off of my bucket list last spring. I went to see Meat Loaf in concert. IT WAS AMAZING! The man didn’t stop! When I found out he was going to be playing in Kingston, ON, I jumped on the chance to go. It was the ONLY weekend I wasn’t booked for pet sitting. I did have a job come up, but I had to decline. I don’t know how much longer Meat Loaf is going to be touring (he actually collapsed during the show after the one I saw), so I wasn’t going to take any chances. I put it out to my friends on Facebook to see if anyone wanted to go with me. Nope, no (local) takers. So I said screw it, I’m going by myself! It took me over 4 hours to drive down there. Dad paid for a hotel room for me. I navigated Kingston transit alone on a Saturday night. And I had the time of my life. When I was 17, I made myself a promise that I would see him perform Paradise by the Dashboard Light live. So now I can say been there, done that. And yes, I did get the t-shirt! (It says Paradise by the Dashboard Light 2016!)

So that’s the last year+ in a nutshell. If you’ve made it this far, I thank you. I promise my next posts won’t be this long! I think I may start posting more photo posts. Because eye candy can be inspiring. And that the real reason I’m here in the first place.

And yes, that IS a quote from Clerks.

Day Three: Experimental Photography And Image Handling For Bloggers

Day Three (Wednesday 13th May): Experimental Photography And Image Handling For Bloggers
Every Year Knitting & Crochet Blog Week tries to feature at least one day where photography takes a key role, because it has been proven many times that what captures reader’s attention for the first few seconds to hopefully hold them long enough to invest the time to read your words is your pictures, and so this topic crops up each year, but every year it yields such different results!

Okay, so this one really tripped me up. Well, not really. But I spent Wednesday and yesterday playing around with my camera. You see, I’m going in the direction of opening an Etsy shop. I wanted to get some great product shots anyway, so the timing of this post couldn’t be better. While I didn’t go all funky like many others, I focused on getting the best possible shots I could. I tried different backgrounds and different settings.

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I used a white sheet as a background here. While it did do what I wanted it, it was difficult to work with outside if a breeze crept up. It was also a challenge to get all the wrinkles out.

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Next I went with a bristol board background. That worked far better. I took two pieces and taped them together so that it would reflect the light a little more.

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Edited version of the previous photo

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Back view with the bristol board

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Edited version of the previous photo

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I tried to see what it would look like on a different background

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Back view

Doing this project, I found a couple of things. White is REALLY difficult to photograph. The other is just because it doesn’t look good on your camera’s preview doesn’t mean it won’t look good on the computer. I took a LOT of photos because I wasn’t happy with how they looked on the camera. When I loaded the photos on the computer, I was quite surprised!

I know I need some work with colour balancing etc, but I’m thinking this isn’t too bad for being self-taught. When I was reading Etsy’s tips for effective listing photos, they indicated that a studio shot with a white background was the best. While I do agree that some products look sharp with that kind of setting, I think there are some exceptions to the rule. Such as this dress. I think that you just need to play that one by ear. I guess I’ll find out, won’t it?

Chances are you’ve probably fallen in love with this little dress, so I’ll tell you where I got the pattern. It’s from Crafting Friends Designs.You can also find her patterns on Ravelry and Etsy. Her blog can be found here. She’s also on Facebook.

Day Two: It’s All About You

Day Two: It’s All About You
Cast your hooks and needles aside!

This year you are challenged with one of those tasks that some bloggers can find quite daunting: but there’s never a better time then when we’re all in it together, so let’s shift the focus and turn the attention from the things we make to the things that make us.

The important thing here is to remember that you don’t have to go into great personal detail and certainly do not have to reveal anything too personal. You can be as candid or as private as you like, but you can also give your readers a feel for those things that you like to do outside of your crafting.

Do you like to walk or keep fit
Do you read or enjoy movies – are there any personal favourite books or films that you would recommend?
What is your dream holiday destination, job, dinner party guest list?

This post can be about your reality, your aspirations, past, present or future. Enjoy talking about you. If you really don’t want to write about yourself, though, use your creative license and invent yourself an alternative persona, whether you are a spy, deep-sea diver or astronaut (who just happens to love yarn).

This is a tough one. Aside from my son and my dad, wool/yarn is my life. I live it. I breathe it. I love it. There are other things in life that I do enjoy, but I usually do them/watch them as I work.

Some things you may not know about me…

I have a background in dog training. Sixteen years ago, I went to Harrisburg, Pa. to do a service dog trainer internship with Susquehanna Service Dogs. That is how I got my beloved Kirby. I applied to places here in Canada, but they did nothing to help me. One of my dreams is to start a service dog program of my own, even if I only train one dog at a time. What’s holding me back now is that I don’t have the space. Another tidbit is that my Kirby was also a therapy dog. We went on visits for a while, but then life happened. In late 2004, I adopted my Panzer. While I was confident that I had the skills to train him, I knew that I could not provide socialization for him. So I signed up for dog training at Petsmart. When they found out about my background with the service dogs and my intention of socializing Panzer, I was encouraged to apply for a dog trainer position. I did and I loved it! Not only did I get to help people train their dogs, I also got to take my boys (Kirby and Panzer) to work with me! They took turns coming with me.

And staying with the doggy theme, I am also a pet sitter. One of the reasons why I have chosen fibre arts (aside from it being my passion), is that it’s highly portable. When I pet sit, I’m also house sitting as well. I stay in their home while their “parents” are away. I highly enjoy it. It’s nice to have pets to snuggle and get a change of scenery. This is also a big reason why I haven’t got another dog. I have a bunch of others I can love! When I pet sit, I treat the pets as I would treat my own. They all have left paw prints on my heart.

I used to be a hairstylist.

After I left the hair world, I primarily did factory work. I actually enjoyed it.

I left an abusive relationship 7 1/2 years ago. I decided that while I was rebuilding my life, I was going to follow my dream and take the Fibre Arts Program at Fleming College. That’s where my love of spinning started.

Aside from wanting to make a better life for my son and I, one of my big reasons for going back to school is to set an example for my son. I want him to know that you’re never too old to learn something new. AND when he hits a rough patch in life, I can genuinely tell him that if I can do it, he can too!

Other little tidbits:
-my favourite colour has been purple for as long as I can remember
-you can tell what frame of mind I’m in by the colours I work with
-I am a HUGE NKOTB fan. I went to 2 concerts when I was 13. Then I went to their first reunion concert in 2008 and another one in 2009. Jordan was my first love
-I will give you the shirt off my back. I may even forgive you if you burn me. But mess with my baby or burn me more than once and hell hath no fury…
-I LOVE to laugh. Sometimes too much
-I used to figure skate and coach. I miss it so much!
-I want a red rag top ’64 1/2 Mustang in the worst way
-my all-time favourite movie is Dirty Dancing. I also love Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, the Iron Man movies, both Avengers movies, (okay, pretty much the whole Marvel series), the Lethal Weapon series, North and South,the Lego Movie, Planes… Okay, I could do this all day!
-my all-time favourite TV show is the Golden Girls. Closely followed by Friends. I also love Ghost Adventures, the Dead Files, Dr. Who, Big Bang Theory, the Simpsons
-my favourite group is ACDC, favourite artist is Meatloaf. I also like Walk Off the Earth, Brooks and Dunn, Garth Brooks, the Stones, George Jones, Johnny Cash – classic rock and country. I also like 80’s and early 90’s music too. My life’s theme seem to be the chorus from Tub Thumping.
-I secretly adore Justin Timberlake. And don’t tell anyone, but I watch Hell’s Kitchen. It’s like a train wreck… I can’t turn away!

I had started a list of pet peeves, but I’m just going to leave it at this… I despise rude/arrogant/phony/fake/know-it-all/narcissistic/deadbeat/inconsiderate/ignorant/confrontational/manipulative/pushy/disrespectful people!

Take me or leave me. But don’t try to change me. You can help me or encourage me to grow. But you won’t change me.

Knit and Crochet Blog Week, Day One: If You Were Yarn.

Day One: If You Were Yarn
If you were a type or brand of yarn, which would you be? Are you a classic pure wool? Is there extra tension but a bit of bounce in you because of your high twist? Would you be more like a high-maintainance, strictly hand-wash fluffy angora or a ‘bring it on’ acrylic, bravely heading into the world of possible baby-sick laundering disasters knowing that you will always come out bright and unharmed?

Spend some time browsing yarns and getting to know their qualities, and decide which yarn you think best matches your personality.

This one is pretty easy because of the spinning. I’m sure my answer will change as I discover more fibres on my spinning journey. But for now…

I would be a handspun Alpaca/Corriedale blend, with some Angelina. My colours would consist of all the colours of the rainbow in long blocks. I would be spun Z/S because as much as I love knitting, I think I would want to be a Crocodile Stitch item.

The Alpaca represents my softer side. While I love my day-to-day hippie/country girl thing, I do enjoy getting dressed up and being “fancy”. Fancy, yet functional.

The Corriedale represents my more durable side, the stability that I offer my son. While he needs to discover the world on his own, I’m always the strength quietly doing my job in the background. As with the Corriedale in this blend, it also offers strength and stability. It helps the alpaca hold its shape, just as I help my son hold his as he faces some of the injustices this world has to offer. I’m warm, soft and snuggly, yet durable and protective.

The Angelina… Well, you HAVE to have some bling! I’m a colour/sparkle freak. I think it makes the world just a little more interesting. This shows my fun-loving side. And is possible further proof that I may have been a bird in a former life.

As for the colours, they represent my many moods. But put them all together and it makes me very happy. I’m blown away with how colour affects me. When I’m down, I bust out a project with bright, vibrant colours. It helps pick me up. Add some sparkle to that, and oh my goodness! As for the long sections, while my moods vary, they don’t vary enough to be variegated (which I’m sure my loved ones are thankful for! hehehe)

I would want to spin myself. I have a lot of energy (and a lot of baggage) that only I can take care of. Only I would know how to handle all of that. And I would LOVE stitched up into this pattern.

This is a spinning project that I’ve been dreaming about for awhile. I’m hoping that I can make it a reality this summer (or at least dye the yarn). I don’t know if I’d be able to stitch it up though. I have a feeling that it may become a “petting skein” hehehe

6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week

6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week

6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week

Last year I dropped the ball, but I’m taking part again this year! I’m going to do my best to keep up with the posts. It would be a lot easier if my awesome designer friends weren’t on fire with some amazing new designs. But I’ll suck it up hehehe

If you would like to take part, you can find the details here at Eskimimi Makes’ blog.