Sunday Stitching

2013-12-01 14.25.26No stitching happening today, but I am blocking the shawl that I started two weeks ago.

Is there anything less appetizing than a piece of knitting as it’s soaking? I don’t think so.

It looks like one of my cats came by and horked a giant technicolor hork into the bowl. You’re welcome for that visual.

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Sunday Stitching


When the weather gets chilly, I need to knit lace.

It’s not a simple, “hmm, it would be nice to knit a shawl” kind of feeling. I get obsessed and nothing will clear the thought from my head except casting on for a new lace project.

Rooting around in my yarn drawer unearthed this nearly-fingering weight variegated yarn. I have long since lost the ball band, so I can’t tell you what brand or even what fiber content. (Just that it’s not wool – partly rayon, maybe? It’s awfully shiny in person.)

Some quick Ravelry searching lead me to the Glam Shells pattern, and it’s perfect. After the initial setup, it’s a simple 10-row repeat that’s easily memorized. One glance at it tells you exactly where you are and what you need to do next (except when a fat blond cat sits on your needles and pulls a half dozen stitches off).

I’ve been working on it for almost a week and I’d say I’m about halfway there. I’m excited to get to the edging, since that’s always the most exciting part of lace knitting.

I totally just used “exciting” and “lace knitting” in the same sentence. Don’t judge.

That’s what I’m up to this Sunday. What’s on your needles?

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A Triumphant Return and a Craft Room Disaster

Do you want to know the secret to finding the time and inspiration to make things?

Publicly declare that you have neither the time nor the inspiration to make things, and then you’ll have crafty mojo coming out your ears.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks crafting up a storm and I’m excited to share about it here. Natalie’s quilt is a large part of what I’ve been working on, and I’m making really good progress (update coming soon!).

But today I wanted to post about a genius organization idea I found (not my own; I’m not clever enough by half to have thought of this!) and lament about the state of my craft room.

“Craft room” is a rather slippery term; this room is an office/guest room as well as where most of the supplies for my creative pursuits live. And this is what it looks like today:

2013-11-04 09.37.15Oy. And that’s after I spent several hours in there yesterday working on an organization project. 

My mom stayed in that room for a week after Natalie was born (I assure you it was in better shape then and the bed was cat-free), but ever since then we’ve just been piling more and more things into it. Obviously I don’t spend any time in there; how could I? You can barely navigate around all the boxes!

I can’t tell you how badly I wish I had an “after” photo that’s Pinterest-worthy. I drool over other people’s craft spaces, but sadly, that’s not how this post ends. This is the “before” photo, the one that happens at the beginning of a fantastic HGTV makeover.

(HGTV, if you’re reading this, please send the Kitchen Cousins to my house. They don’t even have to renovate anything; just standing around and looking pretty would be enough.)

Ok, let’s get to the glimmer of hope: I started organizing my fabric. I stumbled on the amazing idea of using pendaflex file folders and filing cabinets to organize my stash, and got to work straight away.

What used to look like this:

2013-11-03 13.30.12-1Now looks like this!

2013-11-04 09.36.29Oooooh. Aaaaaah.

Granted, this only works if you have a very small fabric stash. It turns out that I have a lot more fabric than I realized (show of hands, who’s surprised? Anyone? Bueller?) and it’s not all going to fit in that cabinet. The filing cabinet just to the left is occupied by honest-to-god files and important papers, so as much as I’d like to completely take it over, I just can’t.

You’re gonna need a bigger boat filing cabinet.

This is what I have left to store:

2013-11-04 09.36.56

Yeah, quite a bit.

So, more thinking is required about where to go from here.

Do I buy cardboard file boxes? (ugly)
Another filing cabinet? (not sure where I’d put it)
Get rid of some fabric? (you shut your mouth)

I think if I pulled the metal part out of the folders, I could stack the fabric nicely on a shelf or in a bookcase (neither of which currently lives in that room).

Stay tuned. I’ll figure something out.

My parents will be staying with us for a day when they fly into Boston for Christmas, so that’s my deadline. At that point there has to at least be a path from the door to the bed.

But really, what do they think this is? The Holiday Inn?

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Happy Helmraths

Hey, did you know I had a baby?


Of course you did, because it’s all I’ve been writing about since August.

I wasn’t sure in exactly what ways the blog would change once Miss Natalie burst onto the scene. I posted here and there about my pregnancy, but still had other projects to break up all the baby talk.

But now?

Welcome to Crafty Sheep: All Baby All the Time!

I give major props to women who are able to have a baby and maintain a sense of continuity on their blog. Elise, Bonnie, and Amy all come to mind. They’ve incorporated their pregnancies and babies to varying degrees on their blogs with, I believe, a lovely balance of their regular content.

“Balanced” is not a word I’d use to describe my life at the moment, and I’m ok with that. I have far less time for craft projects, but find myself writing more and more about life as a new mom.

I’ve kept quite a bit of it off the blog for fear of, you know, boring you all to death with no crafts and all baby photos, but now I’ve reached a point where the torrent of words about Natalie and parenting in general has overflowed into an entirely new venture.

And so I present to you Happy Helmraths, my new personal blog where I am not worrying one whit about too many baby pictures.

I’m not sure what this means for Crafty Sheep, given the hugely compressed window of free time in which I used to use to make things. I think most of my new content will be at Happy Helmraths, but I might pop back in here every once in a while.

I am taking on a great big new craft project, but I’m giving myself a LOT of time to do it. If you’re interested in following along, please stop by Happy Helmraths. Here’s a photo hint:

2013-10-15 11.59.30-2

This is not goodbye; just ta-ta for now! I hope to see you at the new blog, but completely understand if that’s not your thing.

Big hugs all around and a heartfelt thank you for reading!

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October Goals

october-goalsI live and die by my daily to-do list, mostly because it’s the only way I can remember what I’m supposed to be doing. Otherwise Will gets home from work and asks how our day went, and I just stare at him blankly, trying really hard to recall what happened even a few hours ago. My memory is definitely not what it used to be.

(I blame the goober in the photo above. I am not even going to pretend I have a good reason to use that picture for this post; I just love it.)

To that end I’ve decided to start thinking slightly more longterm than “lunchtime” and write down the goals that I plan on accomplishing by the end of the month.

Here we go.

Make Natalie’s Halloween costume. This goal uses the word “make” very loosely (it’s more like “assemble from various articles of clothing that she already owns”) but there is a bit of knitting involved. I’ve already started and I don’t think it’ll take that much longer to complete. Says the girl who blithely cast on with nary a thought in the world for silly considerations like gauge or needle size so it might fit either me or one of the cats. TBD.

Finish the C25K training plan. I don’t have any races on the docket, but the Couch to 5k program app has been really great for easing me back into running. It gives me a lovely little interlude of me time and the exercise definitely helps me maintain an even keel. Natalie’s pediatrician has given me the go-ahead to take her out in the jogging stroller, so that’s nice on days when I know I won’t be able to get outside after Will comes home from work. In theory I only have two weeks to go in the training plan, but each week has been taking me about a week and a half to complete. After that’s done…Couch to 10k? Or Couch to Refrigerator?

Pack away maternity clothes/Return non-maternity fall and winter clothes to the closet. This has been on my list for weeks, but the tote of non-maternity clothes is still sitting in the corner of our room with a big pile of maternity clothes on top of it. I’m not letting go of all the maternity clothes, since several of the tunic-like tops are perfect for fall and still look fine even without the baby bump, but things like my support bands? Super stretchy pants with panels that practically come up to my armpits? I think it’s safe to pack those away.

Tummy time and vitamin D drops for Natalie every day. These shouldn’t have to be goals, but nearly every night after Natalie has already gone to bed I remember that we haven’t done either. I’ve set up a reminder in my phone to help me remember.

Fix Natalie’s social security card. Somewhere between the birth center and City Hall, Natalie’s name became “Nathalie” and her social security card was issued with that misspelling. I’m reasonably sure this can be fixed by bringing her correct birth certificate to the social security office (I hope, I hope, I hope), so it’s just a matter of picking a day and making it happen.

And that’s all she wrote. Happy Friday!


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