Emily M. DeArdo

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knitting

Yarn Along #90 (AKA, finishing the WIPs!)

yarn along, books, knittingEmily DeArdo4 Comments

Oh my gosh, so much knitting stuff to tell you! :)

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Settle in….

So one of the things I made a priority when I moved to Orchard House was finishing my works in progress! I had four going on, and now I have one so I am insanely happy about that.

One of them, the sans kerchief, is basically a really big linen square, and it has a ton of mistakes in it, so I basically used it as a big swatch, to see how linen works. I did it in Quince and Co’s sparrow (truffle colorway, gorgeous!) and I even put it in the washer and dryer, and it held up! So this is my linen “full of mistakes” swatch. :) But it’s off the needles and done and I’m sure I’ll find some uses for it around the house.

(No, there is no picture of it. :) )

I started another linen project: The Dahlia scarf with the sparrow yarn, in eleutherea this time. It is gorgeous.

Here it is, before I wound it:

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Really, I wanted a lightweight, long scarf I could wear in the summer and not melt. :) So I chose this nice blue. I also had made another scarf in this pattern—the main photo at the top.

That was one of the WIPs and I just cast it off. It’s not as long because I ran out of the original color yarn and stupidly didn’t buy two skeins when I should have, so it’s got a bit of contrast yarn at the bottom, but I didn’t want to do the whole rest of the scarf that way, so I just cast off. But it’s lovely anyway!

The third project I’m working on is actually a gift, so I’m not going to show it here, and it’s not completely done yet, but it will be by the time I’m going to give it! :) It’s one of my basketweave scarfs, and y’all know what those look like. :)

So currently, I have three WIPs—the new Dahlia scarf, the gift, and the supermoon kerchief that I started eons ago and really need to finish! :)

I’m reading Susan Branch’s Girlfriends, which I was lucky enough to find a copy of, since it’s hard to find! I’m also re-reading my opera guides because I’m re-watching Wagner’s Ring cycle, because I’m a nerd like that. But it’s actually really good knitting music. :)

Yarn Along #89

books, yarn along, travel, knittingEmily DeArdo4 Comments
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I’ve finally cast off my shawl, and now I’m in the process of weaving in the ends and then blocking it. Yay! I can’t wait to wear it!

This shawl has taken me a long time and part of it was because of the move, and then getting my blocking supplies from my parents’ where I stashed it before the move….but now we’re all caught up.

I was just in Denver for my sister’s bachelorette party, and while I was there I got to visit Tattered Cover, an independent bookstore chain there. It was pretty awesome, and of course I got a lot of books:

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I’ll have more on Denver in a travelogue post later this week or next!

What are you knitting or reading? Share with me!


Yarn Along #88

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdo4 Comments

Linking up with Ginny!

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I’m in the last stretch of my Feile shawl. I’ve really enjoyed knitting this so I’m sort of sad to see the end coming, but I can’t wait to wear it! It’s so pretty!

I’ve heard about Peace Like A River for YEARS—seriously, a child life specialist told me about when I was probably 20 or so—so I figure it’s time to read it.

Once I finish the Feile I’m not sure what I’ll do! I want to use the yarn I got at Williamsburg but I don’t know what to make with it! I’m thinking I might go simple and make a cowl or a scarf. Or maybe a hat.

Ash Wednesday Yarn Along!

books, knitting, Lent, yarn alongEmily DeArdo2 Comments

It’s Yarn Along Time!!!! :)

And it’s Ash Wednesday, so happy Lent to you! And yes, I do mean “happy” Lent. I really like Lent, probably because: 1) I’m a spring baby, and 2) I was born on Good Friday. So, I like Lent. And I also need discipline every once in awhile (who doesn’t), and the spiritual rigor of it, the peeling away of the non-essential, is a good thing.

Anyway, to the yarn!

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OK, so the details:

This is the Feile shawl, which I am loving. I love how the stripes change—do you see how they had a sort of neat pattern going on, and then switch to solid stripes? Love that. Eventually, the contrast color, the blue, will become the dominant color as I work toward the end of the shawl, with the white being the contrast. This is a really easy shawl, but the fun is in the slight pattern changes. The thing that’s going to be a pain is all the end weaving in! But oh well.

I’m using Frabjous Fibers yarn, the Mad Hatter base (sport weight). The white speckled is Victorian China, and the blue is called “Muchness” (seriously, isn’t that great?). I’m using Knitpicks sunstruck needles, size 4, on one of their interchangeable cables.

The book is a great one for Lent, I think: Catherine Doherty’s The People of the Towel and Water. It’s about doing every day activities as prayer—really being present in the moment, and allowing everything you do to be prayer, working for God, even when you’re sweeping or cleaning or writing (or knitting!). Catherine founded Madonna House, and I’ve been reading some of her writing lately. I recommend it!

Yarn Along #86

yarn along, knitting, booksEmily DeArdo6 Comments

Linking up with Ginny!

I finished my shawl!

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I’m definitely getting faster at this pattern the more I do it; this time it took me a little over a month. Not bad. (And of course the crazy cold days when I couldn’t do anything but stay inside also helped.)

I’ve started my Find Your Fade shawl. Right now, this is a pattern where I have to pay attention to what I’m doing, because I’ve had to start it over twice—once because I had too many stitches, and once because I forgot what row I was on and knit the wrong thing….sigh…..so this represents my third attempt. Fortunately I love the yarn! (I’m doing this is Knitpicks Hawthorne yarn, on Knitpicks needles). If you click the Hawthorne yarn link you can see all the colors I’m using, because I used that kit. I’m hoping to finally get out of the first section today and start the lace bit. I’m a little nervous about this because even though I understand the technique involved, I’ve never done lace before…..so fingers crossed! My ravelry notes are here.

As for reading—last night I stayed up late to read The Winter of the Witch *, the last book in the Winternight trilogy, which takes place in Medieval Russia and blends fantasy and history. They’re so good, and if you haven’t read them, I do recommend it. I love Russian history anyway, so that helped me get into these when the first one came out a few years ago.

I’m still chugging my way through Villette although I’m getting a little annoyed with Lucy Snowe….not surprising, I get annoyed with lots of Charlotte’s heroines. I think I’m going to start The Terror next, or The Sea Queen, * but I think with The Sea Queen I’ll have to re-read Half-Drowned King first….just to make sure the story is really fresh in my mind again. Can you tell I’m on a myth/fantasy kick? (These books are Norwegian stories, based on myth and legend. Very cool and very well-written.)



*=Amazon affiliate link



Yarn Along #85

yarn along, books, knittingEmily DeArdoComment

Winter is really killing my soul this year—it’s been so cold that the cold is always in the house, you know? You’re sort of always cold, and I don’t want to crank up the heat because then I’ll have an astronomical bill in February (the heat company here is….um….rather iniquitous when it comes to their rates). So at least knitting my shawl helps keep me warm!


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I’m re-reading Villette and trying to see if I like it better after about 15 years have passed since I read it first. Charlotte Bronte was pretty anti-Catholic, and this book highlights that, so there are definitely parts where I just have to roll my eyes. It’s also annoying that there’s a lot of French in it which is translated in the back. (My French is decent, but not perfect.) Maybe that’s just this edition. But anyway, it’s a typical Gothic novel/ghost story/crazy romance in the Bronte sister vein, and it’s good reading for winter.



Seven Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes, behind the scenes, current projects, knitting, life issues, memoir, Seven Quick Takes, Tidying Up, writingEmily DeArdoComment
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Linking up with Kelly!

—ONE—

I haven’t done this in awhile, so, hey, time to do one! Especially since we’re supposed to get a big old snow storm with insanely cold temperatures this weekend, so if you never hear from me again, at least you have this. (I’m kidding. I’ll be fine.)

This cartoon made the rounds a few years ago, but once again it looks like I’ll be living in Hoth:

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—TWO—

There’s been a lot going on over here. I’m moving, so that’s the first thing—in March! So I have two months to get my place packed up. Which means that yes, I’ve been watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, and I love it. (And no, she’s never said that you only need 30 books, where did people get this?! I have WAY more than 30> I have more than 30 cookbooks, probably—yes, I might have a problem.)

But I’ve really enjoyed the process. If you haven’t heard of her, the idea is that you get rid of everything that doesn’t “spark joy”, or that you need (like, a screwdriver, for instance. Or copies of recent tax returns.). So you let go of things that you’re just holding on to out of guilt or uncertainty or “just because”, and it’s done in categories: clothes, books, papers, “komono “ (miscellaneous—she divides it down further), and sentimental items. I’m on “komono”, and it’s mostly household stuff and knitting stuff that’s left.


—THREE—

Speaking of knitting, here’s this week’s yarn along! I’m making a drachenfels shawl, again. :) Deets are at Ravelry, here.


—FOUR—

In other news, I’m very close to submitting my book proposal! Oh my gosh. This has been a few months in the making but I think I’m in the home stretch! Yayyy!

And you can help me!

Please subscribe to the blog! This is something that really helps me with publishers. It shows I have people who care about what I write! So do that, and then follow my author page on Facebook? Every follower/subscriber is important! If you already subscribe, thank you! Mwah!


—FIVE—

The proposal is a memoir about my life with CF and transplant and how it ties into the idea that life is always worth living, no matter what’s “wrong” with you. Today is the March for Life, so yes, I feel it’s a timely topic. I’ve had people tell me that I shouldn’t exist. But I DO exist and so there. :-p

—SIX—

I made a holy hour yesterday, since I might not be able to get to Mass this weekend depending on weather. If you don’t make a holy hour (Or holy half hour, or Holy Fifteen Minutes!), can I recommend that you start? It’s restorative, transformative, energizing….it’s time with the Lord who loves you so much! Get thee to an adoration chapel! Or get to Mass early, if you can. God wants to visit with you!


—SEVEN—

And, also, if you missed it, Take Up & Read has a new study! We’re starting on Monday but feel free to hop in whenever! It’s called Call Me Blessed (here’s my blog post about it!)—and you can get it at other bookstores besides Amazon! Yay!!!!! It’s all about our vocation as women, our dignity as women, using women in the Bible and the writings of Pope John Paul II. I do hope you’ll join us!

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Yarn Along #84: The Lambs and Wool Shawls

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdo1 Comment
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I’m about to be living in Hoth again:

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Seriously, it’s going to be so cold—I’m hearing negative numbers for actual temps on Sunday and Monday. Time to batten down the hatches!

At least when knitting a shawl in winter, the shawl keeps you warm! I’m into the striping section which is easy and pretty relaxing so I can watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo or Home Town while I’m knitting and I can stay sort of warm.

The Lambs * was a wonderful book about a lawyer who decided to close her firm and move to a farm in Virginia where she raised karakul sheep. The story is wonderfully written, and the book itself is lovely, with color photographs and gorgeous design. If you like to knit, like sheep, animals, or farming, or just a well-written, meditative memoir, this is the book for you.

*Amazon Affiliate link

Yarn Along #83--shawl progress and Mary Magdalene

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdoComment
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Progress is being made! Yay!

If you’re new, it’s the Drachenfels shawl in Quince and Co’s chickadee yarn—here you see peacoat (a dark navy blue, not black), and camel. The third color that will be incorporated is gingerbread.

I’m reading (well, one of the things I’m reading) Saint Mary Magdalene Prophetess of Eucharistic Love*. It’s really good, in that it talks a bit about the history of Mary Magdalene, her presence in the gospels, and how that relates to Eucharistic Adoration today. I’m underlining an awful lot! I’m pretty passionate about the Eucharist, so this book is definitely inspiring me to get to Mass and adoration as often as I can!

Today I’m getting another package from KnitPicks, which has the needles I need to start either Felie or Find Your Fade….which one shall I start first?!?! The Drachenfels shawl is in a good place to stop; I have to do one more repeat of the main section and then I’m done with the first page of instructions. Which one do you think I should cast on first?

*Amazon affiliate link

Yarn Along #82: The Swatch Post!

knittingEmily DeArdo2 Comments

Should this be Yarn Along Part A? Not sure. Because there will be a proper yarn along, as well, with shawl progress and book goodness, because who doesn’t need that in January (or anytime, really)? But this is the swatch and blocking post because I learned a lot from doing this and I wanted to share with you!

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First, though, we’re going to talk about this picture. Is this not awesome? It’s called “A Visit from the Angels”, but notice that Mary is knitting! I love it! I also love how Jesus is like, “Oh, angels. That’s cool.”


So, on to swatching!

I have never swatched before. But I thought, with the big Find Your Fade shawl coming up, that maybe I should. So I swatched, using the same type of yarn called for in the pattern (Knitpicks Hawthorne). You check for gauge in this case post-blocking, so I blocked it and measured it.

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Now, it’s not quite at gauge. I don’t really care about that, because it’s a shawl so it’s not like it has to fit a certain way. I’m actually under the gauge—the swatch should measure 4x4, but it doesn’t. It’s a bit short.

However, I knitted a few more swatches, because, why not? I used the same yarn, but in a different colorway, and what I noticed was what a difference blocking makes.

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On the left: a blocked swatch. On the right: Non-blocked. I mean look at that! Amazing!

I also knitted up swatches in different needle sizes: 4 (the size suggested), 6, and 8. It’s sort of hard to tell here, but you might be able to see that on the 8, it’s almost twice the size of the 4, which makes sense, but it’s also sort of sloppy. I had a hard time maintaining tension with this yarn on size 8 needles. After blocking it did look less sloppy, but it’s still pretty unpretty, so I’m using it underneath a vase on my kitchen table. :)




This is all post blocking: The 8 is in the back, 6 in the middle, 4 in front.

This is all post blocking: The 8 is in the back, 6 in the middle, 4 in front.

I didn’t hit gauge with the 6 needles, either—this time it was too big. I’m still relatively new to knitting, so I’m not entirely sure what this means….maybe I should’ve tried the five size needles? :)

Anyway, lessons to take away here:

  • Blocking is magic!

  • Swatches did help me learn how yarn feels on the needles, and I got used to working with this particular yarn.

  • It was also useful to see how it knits up on different size needles. Now I know, for example, that I’d never use this yarn on anything bigger than a 6. Maybe a seven. But on the 8s, it just did not work. A size six needle is OK, though.

  • I’m pondering doing a swatch blanket or something like that—it’s actually really relaxing to sit and swatch in garter stitch! And I think it could be a good way to stash bust as well.

Any thoughts on swatches, gauge, or other knitty things? Let me know in the comments!

Yarn Along #81 (Not the swatch post!)

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdo3 Comments

This is NOT the swatch post that I promised here. That’s coming. So you’ll have to come back if you want that!

This is the “Yarn I got for Christmas and projects I’m planning with it” post. Also, “Books I got for Christmas”.

But let’s talk yarn first.

First of all, I got delicious Chickadee Yarn from Quince and Co., which you know I love for yet ANOTHER Drachenfels shawl! But this one is going to be autumnal in flavor. These shawls are really done based on colors I see and want to do—the Sage shawl was in part Sage influenced, but also influenced by early spring in Ohio.

Anyway, the colors for this one:

Gingerbread

Gingerbread

Camel

Camel

Peacoat

Peacoat

This is autumnal, but also inspired by Eowyn’s wardrobe in the Lord of the Rings movies. One of her outfits is that gingerbread color, she wears a dark blue robe in Return of the King, and her hair is the sort of camel color, but it also echoes some of the embroidery on her Rohan gowns. So again, this is a doubly-inspired shawl!

The next two projects were financed by my dear friend Sarah, who gave me a gift certificate to Knitpicks, which meant I could take advantage of their yarn sale and buy enough yarn to do a Find Your Fade shawl! I know I’m late to this party, everyone else did this years ago, but now I know the skills needed to do it (thank you Aunt Sue for your tutelage yet again!).

So here are all the colors for THAT. The yarn is Knit Pick’s Hawthorne line, in various types—kettle dyed, multi, and their speckled.

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Whew! So the fade goes from top to bottom, and the colors are: (KD=kettle dyed, S=speckled, everything else is the multi)

Sellwood

Goose Hollow

Delphinium (KD)

Alameda

Abernathy

Turkish Delight (KD)

Berry Smoothie (S)

I sort of adore these colors! Which is good because this shawl is SO big that I’ll be using them for a long time!

The last project is the felie shawl, where I’m using Frabjous Fibers yarn—their speckle in Victorian China—and the Hawthorne Turkish Delight you see above.

So, WHEW! Is that enough yarn for you?

As for books:

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I adored Marilla of Green Gables. I also got The Gown, News of the World, The Terror, and Book Girl either as Christmas gifts or bought with Christmas gift cards/money. So I’ve been reading a lot, and, as I always do at the beginning of January, I’m re-reading One Thousand Gifts. (those are Amazon affiliate links) I will report on the others as I read them, or you can follow me on Goodreads!

What are you reading/knitting?


Yarn Along #80: Shawl finished!

Barton Cottage Crafts, books, knittingEmily DeArdo2 Comments
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I’m so pleased with how this little guy (well, not little!) turned out! My ravelry notes are here. And, yes, Santa is bringing me more yarn so I can make a third Drachenfels shawl. :) Can you tell I love this pattern?

I’ve also finished two Barton Cottage Craft orders. This one, below, was done in Knit Picks’ Chroma Twisted Lakefront:


And I finished a cowl! Well it’s not done done, it needs blocked, but it’s off the needles. Ravelry notes here.

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Also, I’m planning on making more cowls, to really hone my circular knitting skills. I’ll be using lots of this yummy Quince and Co yarn:

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As for what I’m reading:

Right now I’m rereading the Anne of Green Gables books, and I’m on the last one, Rilla of Ingleside. When I first read it as a kid I didn’t know much about World War I, and it’s been a long time since I re-read it, so I’m thinking that this time around I’ll have a much richer reading experience.

I’m also reading The Cozy Minimalist Home, and re-reading Circe, by Madeline Miller.

Yarn Along No. 79

books, journal, knittingEmily DeArdo3 Comments

Yayyy October yarn along!

So, first, since it’s October, I’m deep in knitting gifts. This one is for a little friend (I do mean little—it’s a little boy, although he’d probably bristle at being called “little”)—he picked the color and the type of yarn. It’s Carrie’s Yellow from Quince, in their Lark line. I haven’t worked with Lark before, so it’s a new experience, but it’s going well so far! (If you love Quince like I do, I highly recommend getting their color cards—they’ve been SO helpful, especially when it comes to gifts! Feeling the yarn and really seeing the colors in person as opposed to on a screen is so helpful).

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I’m reading Make Something Good Today, which has been like having a cup of coffee with good friends. I love Home Town on HGTV, because Erin and Ben seem so real, and this book just proves they are. You’re probably thinking, “Of course they’re real, duh”, but I mean real as in, authentic. And the last chapter on their baby girl will make you cry. Seriously. Too much.

When I work on Christmas gifts, my own projects get moved to Sunday. So that means the shawl’s progress has slowed, but I’m reaching the end!

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The end work on this shawl is sort of slow, though, because of the detail level-it’s not just the lovely garter stitch I’ve been doing for most of the shawl! However, it is pretty. This shawl is being knit in Quince’s Chickadee. (Carnation—special edition—Frank’s Plum, and Sage)

As it gets colder—maybe, it’s going to be in the 80s this weekend (OH weather is insane), I just am drawn to knitting more and more. It’s so cozy! Once I finish the shawl I’m going to —gulp—cast on a hat! My first one!



Sage's Shawl

CF, essays, yarn along, knitting, journalEmily DeArdo1 Comment
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Yes, it's Wednesday. It's a yarn along post. But....not really. 

When I finished my first Drachenfels shawl, I knew I wanted to knit it again. My head was full of color combinations and possibilities. In May, I ordered a special edition yarn from Quince and Co (carnation--the pink above) and knew I wanted to use it in this shawl. The question was--what to pair with it? 

When I went to Sewickley Yarns in July, I brought the ball of carnation yarn with me so I could color match. Immediately, I latched on to the green color you see above. And then I checked the tag. 

It's called "Sage". 

Then I knew I had to have it. 

Some of you may remember my friend Sage, who died two years ago Friday, waiting for a double lung transplant. Like me, she had CF. And we had so much in common besides that. She was a true kindred spirit. We spoke (well, texted) almost every day. She was funny, supportive, deeply faithful, and just....well, a perfect friend. 

We never got to meet, but we had made plans for it...in that nebulous future moment of "post transplant", the transplant I was just so sure she'd get. 

She didn't. 

I think about her almost every day. I think of things I want to tell her and then I realize I can't. 

So when I saw the "Sage" yarn, I had to get it. And then I had to get the purple (Frank's Plum), because purple was her favorite color. It's also the color for CF awareness. 

I wish I could give her this shawl. I think she'd like it. I know she'd love the purple. I dunno how she felt about pink. But since I can't give it to her, I make it for me--and when I wear it, I can remember her encouragement, her sense of humor, her strength (really, she was so much stronger than I am. Anyone who gets a chest tube put in WITHOUT ANESTHESIA is MUCH stronger than I am.). 

Some people, post-transplant, talk about living for their donor. I never felt that way. My donor was a lot older than I was, for starters, so it wasn't like she was a compatriot in age. But after Sage died, I do get the feeling that I'm living for her. That I do some things because she can't. It's hard to explain. 

I'm at the halfway point of the shawl. For the rest of it I'll be working with the pink and the purple intertwined together. I should finish it within the next few weeks, which means I can wear it this autumn. 

So, if Sage was alive, I'd give this to her. But since she's not here, I'll wear it for her. 

Yarn Along No. 78

knitting, yarn along, booksEmily DeArdo2 Comments
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Many projects being made with it! Yayyy!

So the first thing was the Kate cowl, and for that I used all the gray, deep red, and some of the yellow yarn (they are Quince and Co. Owl in Abyssinian, Cranberry, and Steppe). I didn't use the provisional cast on the pattern called for; instead I just whipstitched the edges together. She's currently on the blocking mats and then she'll be done! Yay! This is a great project for introducing colorwork, because the changes are really easy. 

The purple and green (far right) are going to be used in a second drachenfels shawl, which I've started knitting. (Colors: Frank's Plum and Sage, Quince and Co. chickadee) The third color I'm using is a Quince special edition color called carnation, which they released on Mother's Day this past May--and they only had a little bit of it, so I had act fast! 

This shawl has a few special meanings for me: I had a friend, Sage, who was very special to me, and she died two years ago this August. So getting the "sage" color was a no brainer. Purple was her favorite color--so that led to the Frank's Plum. And we both have CF, and the CF awareness color is purple--so double meaning there. The pink is just a color I enjoy. So working on this shawl is going to be special for me, as will wearing it. 

(Oh, the brightish pink? That's Chickadee in Pomegrante, and it's going to be used in a beret pattern! My first hat!) 

As for what I'm reading: 

A ton

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The Melissa Wiley books are about Martha Morse, Laura Ingalls Wilder's great-grandmother, and I'd always wanted to read them--the library, thankfully, had most of the "good" copies (apparently the ones with the photo covers are edited/abridged in some way from the illustrated covers), so I sped through the four of them (the third one isn't seen here). Quite enjoyable. 

Queen of Hearts was good, even if I did find the ultimate "reveal" a bit weak. If you like medical drama, you'll like this book, since it was written by a doctor and thus you don't have the medical errors you find in a lot of other books, but if you're squeamish, you might want to pass on this one!

I also read The Widows of Malabar Hill (OK. A decent mystery, likable main character, a few too many modern references for a book that takes place in 1920s India) and I'm about to start Us Against You

 

Goal Setting 2018: April results and May goals

Barton Cottage Crafts, behind the scenes, current projects, goal setting, health, knitting, memoir, writingEmily DeArdo2 Comments
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It's MAYYYY! Yay! 

So it's time to revisit my goals! Let's get started. 

Goal Number 1: 

Work through Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps for Financial Peace to cultivate good stewardship, gratitude, and contentment.

April goal: Start the debt snowball; this is baby step 2, where all your debts are paid off. Fortunately I don't have much to do here! 

Status: Started! Yay!!

May goal: Continue working the snowball. 

 

Goal Number 2: 

Find an agent for my manuscript

April goal: Write a darn proposal!

Status: DONE!  I sent it to a friend of mine to read/peruse, so now I'm just waiting for her feedback. Once I get that, I can make any changes and send it out!

May goal: Send it (hopefully!) 

Goal Number 3:

To deepen and strengthen my relationship with God, because He is the center and the well-spring.

April goals: Confession/Holy hour/Weekday Mass once a week

Status: Confession, check! Holy hour, check! Weekday Mass....no check. Sigh. Something still to work on!

May goals: Confession, Holy Hour, and at LEAST ONE WEEKDAY MASS. Just one. :) 

Goal Number 4: 

Continue to lose weight and treat my body well so I can do everything else I want to do, and honor my body which God made.

April goals: Focus on healthy snacks and regular workouts. 

Status: Did really well here. Lost some weight (yay!), have found new healthy snacks, and I'm still doing yoga classes regularly. I've also continued to make progress on body measurements. I take my measurements on the first of every month, and this is where I can really see progress, or not. So I'm glad to see progress being made!

May goals: Consistent working out--yoga classes; continue to focus on health snacks. 

Goal Number 5: 

Grow Barton Cottage Crafts, to help with baby steps (goal 1), but also to have a creative outlet and for enjoyment. 

April goal: Finis commissions and get new ones.

Status: I did finish my commissions, and I'm working on getting new ones. Part of that is the new Barton Cottage Crafts page here on the site! I'm really proud of it! So in May, while I wait for commissions, I'm going to be working on new projects, as well as starting to plan knitting projects for birthdays and Christmas--because guys, handmade takes time. So if you want birthday presents/Christmas presents, you have to get them early. As in, now is not too early!

May goals: See above. :) 

Goal Number 6: 

Have a beautiful, peaceful, welcoming home so I can appreciate what I have, encourage hospitality, and cultivate peace.

April goal: Get another KALLAX unit for the living room. 

Status: The one I want isn't in stock--and wasn't for ALL OF APRIL. Grr, IKEA. Grrrrr. So I'm waiting for that. In the mean time, working on keeping spaces clear. I did do a lot better in having people over in April--I would say come on over, knowing the house would be presentable. So that's great. 

May goal: Pray that the KALLAX comes back in stock? :) If it does, that'll happen. If not--continue weekly clean/focus on certain areas (FlyLady zones, if you're familiar with those), and keep inviting people over. And continue contentment challenge--that fell off in April, so I'm doing month three now!

Goal Number 7: 

To nurture my creativity so I can learn new things, inspire myself, stretch my mind, and feed my soul. 

April goals: Knit two new Quince projects, start reading Artist's Way, get new commissions. 

Status: I knit the projects! Yay! And I have big plans for more new ones....I didn't read Artist's Way, but that is definitely on the list for this month. Commission--see above.

May goals: Start new knitting project; start reading Artist's Way. (I have to DECIDE on new project. I think it's going to be a tricolor cowl, but that means getting yarn, or a cowl with a textured stitch, in order to really "get" working in the round done.) 

This month, my brother is getting married--NEXT WEEK, holy cow!--so I didn't go hog wild on my goals. My daily goals are balancing my checkbook (yes, old school!), lectio, knitting, and working out 5/7 days a week. So they are important goals, but it's not a ton, so I can really focus. I didn't want to stress this month. I want to celebrate and enjoy this big moment for our family! :) 

 

Yarn Along No. 76

Barton Cottage Crafts, books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdoComment

It's May, and that means--Yarn Along with Ginny!

So I've been finishing a commission for Barton Cottage Crafts, but for my own knitting, I'm working on the Skye Cowl from Quince and Co., with their Puffin yarn. (My ravelry page here) I'm using the sorbet colorway, because I wanted something fun. 

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Yes, my nails are terrible. Sorry. 

Above, the project is with the Magnolia Table cookbook (birthday gift), and I've been reading various things all month--the spring Bella Grace, which is a great magazine, Ann Voskamp's The Way of Abundance, and the fifth Outlander book, The Fiery Cross. So I'm all over the map. 

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And, Barton Cottage Crafts (my little knitting shop) is taking commissions! I do the basketweave scarves, shawls (basic ones), and plain garter stitch scarves. You get to pick the colors for anything you commission, obviously. Plain scarves are $30, basketweave's are $35, and shawls are $40. That price includes shipping!

I don't have a good picture of the "plain" scarf--bad me--but it's really lovely. I use Quince's osprey yarn, so it's very plush and squishy! 

If you'd like a commission, contact me and we'll get started! 

Yarn Along No. 75: Back to basics

Barton Cottage Crafts, books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdoComment
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So, after finishing the shawl, I wanted to go back to basics, this is about as basic as you can get--a garter stitch scarf in a nice, squishy yarn. This is Quince and Co.'s osprey in winesap, which is just a gorgeous true red. I adore it. It's really relaxing knitting. No pressure, no difficult pattern, just knitting with beautiful yarn. 

The next project I'm working on is their Skye cowl, so I can work a project in the round. It's basic stockinette stitch, and I wanted something basic to ease me into a new technique. Once I knit this, I have some plans for other cowls, with other lovely yarns. 

Also: Barton Cottage Crafts is open for orders! Basketweave scarves, shawls, and even this scarf are available. You can choose your color. Shipping is included in the price. This scarf is $30, basketweave scarves are $35, and shawls are $45. Drop a note in the comments if you'd like to talk about an order! 

Some birthday gifts

Some birthday gifts

As for what I'm reading: Birthday books! I read Force of Nature and Unmasked over the last few days and I'm into The Bronte Cabinet, which I'm really enjoying. It appeals to my English Lit Geek Nature. The book discusses the lives of the three Bronte sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne) within the context of nine of their possessions. Really intriguing. 

 

2018 Goals: March update and April goals!

goal setting, Barton Cottage Crafts, knitting, memoirEmily DeArdoComment
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So, if you're new to this, I use powersheets to set my goals. I love Powersheets! You can catch up on this year's series by going here

March was the longest month. It really was! But there was progress made in some areas!

Goal Number 1: 

Work through Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps for Financial Peace to cultivate good stewardship, gratitude, and contentment.

 

March goal: Finish baby step one--get an emergency fund in place. 

Status: ACHIEVED! Guys, I am so proud of this. And it was so enjoyable to know that, when I was having computer issues earlier this month, I could go to the store and know that if it needed repairs, I could pay for them! This fund also allowed me to replace part of my Bionic Ear without freaking out. 

April goal: Start baby step 2--also known as the Debt Snowball. This is where you list all debts, smallest to largest, and start to pay them off, by moving as much money as you can toward to the smallest debt. Once that's paid off, that money + the minimum payment for the second debt goes to the next debt....you see how this works? I will have the first part of the snowball done by this fall. Yay!

 

Goal Number 2: 

Find an agent for my manuscript

March goal: At least one two-hour block of time outside the house working on my proposal. It doesn't have to be finished. But I have to dedicate at least two hours to drafting one. 

Status: yeah...no. AGAIN!

April goal: GET IT DONE. And I've already started! I've written out the basics of a proposal and now I just have to tweak/re-write the sample chapters. I am ON IT. 

Goal Number 3:

To deepen and strengthen my relationship with God, because He is the center and the well-spring.

March goals: Weekday Mass once a week, confession once a month, holy hour, daily vespers (evening prayer).

Status: Everything but that weekday Mass--because every time I tried to go, there was no place to park. I'm not kidding. So I tried, God! But I did get in a holy hour and daily vespers. Confession, no go either...I wanted to go wen I went to Mass. Face to face confession is offered at my parish on Fridays, which was the day I wanted to go to Mass as well. But no parking. Sigh. 

April goals: confession, holy hour, Mass once a week! 

Goal Number 4: 

Continue to lose weight and treat my body well so I can do everything else I want to do, and honor my body which God made. 

March goals: Daily yoga glo classes, weekly meal planning, go to bed by 10:00 (be IN bed, not necessarily asleep). 

Status: I did REALLY well here. I attended a yoga glo class almost every day! The meal planning was OK, as was the bed thing. 

April: Focus on healthy snacks, regular workouts--yoga glo strength courses, continue meal plan. 

Goal Number 5: 

Grow Barton Cottage Crafts, to help with baby steps (goal 1), but also to have a creative outlet and for enjoyment. 

March goals: Keep trucking. :) 

Progress: I finished my drachenfels shawl  and am almost done with a current commission. That means that BCC is open for new work! If you'd like a scarf or a shawl, please contact me and we'll talk! I can do them in solid or variegated colors. Shawls at $45, and scarves are $35, and shipping is included! 

April: finish new projects (I have two that I want to knit), get more commissions!

Goal Number 6: 

Have a beautiful, peaceful, welcoming home so I can appreciate what I have, encourage hospitality, and cultivate peace. 

March goals: ZERO OUT (with alarm at 9 pm); zone clean weekly; weekly surface clean; contentment challenge; finish Emily Ley's simplify challenge! 

StatusZeroing out just isn't me....I sort of tried but it doesn't work. I'd much rather come down in the morning and clean a bit. So that's what I switched to. I'm in zone cleaning weekly, and doing the weekly surface clean. 

The Contentment challenge is almost done!

The biggest thing I did this month: 

Sorry it's blurry!

Sorry it's blurry!

This was a terrible corner on my first floor. I hated it. I had no idea what to do with this empty space. 

So I was sick of looking at it, and went on an organizing spree. I dumped my old stereo that I NEVER use from my book case, and added a new shelf of "favorite books". That gave me more space in all my bookcases, yay!

Then I went on the IKEA website--motivated by a birthday coupon--and looked some something that would fit here. KALLAX would! KALLAX is pretty!

KALLAX IS HEAVY. I had to open the box and take the pieces in piece by piece. :) After an hour, I had entered in the realm of adulthood, because I had put together a piece of IKEA furniture. 

And now, behold!

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Isn't that much better

So, for April: My goal is to get another one of these units to go in my living room, to hold some other things that are currently being "stored" crappily. :-p I will also continue weekly cleaning (both detailed and surface). But I want stuff up off the floor. I'm tired of living like a college student! :-P 

Goal Number 7: 

To nurture my creativity so I can learn new things, inspire myself, stretch my mind, and feed my soul. 

March goals: Shawl--finish? Maybe? Continue Artist's Rule. 

Status: DONE, on both counts! Yay!!!!

April goals: Knit two new Quince and Co. projects, get new commissions, start Artist's Way reading. 

Progress is happening on the first project: 

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It's a really simple project, but I love this yarn. I'll talk more about these in the next yarn along. 

So, March had ups and downs. But it also had some great progress!

 

 

 

Yarn Along No. 74: Drachenfels!

yarn along, knittingEmily DeArdo4 Comments
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My shawl is off the needles! 

It's not finished, because I have to block it, and I can't block it until my eucalan order comes--no one in Columbus sells it, apparently--so I'm waiting for that. Blocking is where you wash your finished object and then shape it on blocking boards. Some pieces require extensive blocking, but this is going to be pretty gentle. (Here's a good post on how to block, if you're interested, or looking for a how-to for your own knitting projects.) Once it's blocked, I'll show you the final product as well. 

This took me about three months to do, start to finish. The yarn was a Christmas gift, I started it a few days after Christmas, and I was working on other commissions during that time, so that affected how long it took. If this was my sole project, it might have taken a month off the finish time. I really enjoyed this pattern and am already thinking about color combinations for the next one! 

(Whoops! Forgot to link to Ravelry! This has all the details and my notes.) 

But my next two projects are going to be much simpler: Puck's Scarf from Quince and Co., and then the Skye Cowl (partially because Outlander, and partially because I want to learn to knit in the round, and this will be a good starter project).