Fiber Fest and Finances

I had the absolute BEST time at DFW Fiber Fest last weekend with my friends!

From Franklin Habit and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s creative insight to detailed stash enhancement, this is a jammed packed post. I also finished some socks, started a new sweater, and cooked up some cleaning supplies. I learned more about my introvert tendencies and how to have financial margin. Enjoy!

Finished Objects

I finished my first pair of April socks- Jelly Rolls by Mara Catherine Bryner. They were super quick since we’ve had so much testing going on at school. I just clipped my Erin.Lane sock sack on my belt loop and walked around knitting and knitting while I monitoring students. {I have a cute teacher bag with apples!}

“Jelly Rolls” by Mara Catherine Bryner

I immediately cast on my second pair of socks for the month out of the same brilliant “Honeydukes” colorway by Lolodidit. I was planning on a second pair of Jelly Rolls, but I just don’t have it in me! These will likely stay vanilla.

I have sort of a secret goal for the year that I’ve been keeping to myself for the fear of not being able to complete it. I want to finish either one pair of tall socks or two pairs of short socks each month. In the months that I knit short socks I’ll make a pair for myself and a pair to gift my sister at Christmastime. In the months I make long socks, I’ll put them away for my mother-in-law and mom for Christmas. I’d love to get them a couple pairs each and then have the time to knit myself some festive socks in November and December!

WIP’s- Focus Projects

“So Faded” by Andrea Mowry

I’ve been working diligently on my “So Faded” sweater by Andrea Mowry. My goal was to get to part where you put the sleeves on hold {I tend to get stuck in raglan increase land} by the end of this week. But when I realized we were going to the movies on Wednesday I decided I must be on the body to knit in the dark! This sweater is simple enough to be quick, but it’s still fingering weight. I really should knit some sweaters in sport or dk.

I’m going to try something crazy with this sweater… I’m going to finish the sleeves before the body. WHAT?! Raise your hand if you hate sleeves! I’ve got both of my sleeveless arms in the air. I detest knitting sleeves. Knitting tiny rounds of stockinette on a sock? No sweat! Knitting tiny rounds of stockinette while attached to a giant sweater body? That’s just asking to be put in time out.

After I finish my second color on the body, I will be rocking and rolling on the sleeves. Fingers crossed that this will cure my sleeve aversion.

Something New

I got to learn from two different knitting-famous bloggers this past weekend at DFW Fiber Fest.  Friday night Franklin Habit gave his talk titled: “Follow Your Bunny: The Creative Process from A to Q”. He was HILARIOUS! He used his own drawings and photographs to share what the life of a “creative person” is really like. I felt very inspired by him to follow my ideas on through their ups and downs and never to let failure stop me from sharing my process.

My 14″ needles used for lever knitting.

On Saturday morning I took a class from the one and only Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. The class was called “Knitting for Speed and Efficiency,” and boy was it so much more than that! We were treated to a history of how we came to knit the way we do, and why that might not be such a great thing. We learned that a neutral position is the most efficient and least injury-inducing way to knit {because you can’t knit much when you’re injured!}. We also got to sample lever knitting, the technique practiced by the quickest knitters in the world.

Add to all that knowledge Stephanie’s humor and wit, and I can say that this is the best knitting class I’ve ever taken. I’ve already been able to put into practice some of the tips and tricks she shared {especially pulling out lots of yarn from your ball so you don’t have to stop as often} and I intend to practice lever knitting a few times a week. I walked into class with the mindset, “Eh, I probably won’t change my knitting style, but meeting the Yarn Harlot will be awesome!” I totally got more than I bargained.

If you ever have the chance to hear Franklin Habit teach or take a class with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, I say do it! You will not be disappointed.

Voila! Behold, my new stash pets. There are plans for each of these… mostly socks.

Haul from DFW Fiber Fest, April 2018
  1. McKinney Knittery T-shirt“gettin’ knit done” | Plan: wear as much as possible
  2. Suburban Stitcher Sock“Cinder” colorway | Plan: Canyon” by Devin Ventre
  3. Brazen Stitchery Harmony Sock“Hufflepuff” colorway | Plan: shorties
  4. Erin.Lane BagsSweater bag in “Fantastic Beasts” and Twofer bag in “Balls”
  5. Suburban Stitcher Glitter Sock“Birthday Live” | Plan: Helen Stewart?
  6. Mush Stash Perfect Self Striping Sock“Lavender Apple”| Plansocks
  7. Night Owl Fibers Self-Striping“Double Mint” colorway | Plan: socks
  8. Teeny Button Studio Mini Skeins: “Diagon Alley” | Plan: scrappy blankets
  9. Gynx Yarns Power Sock“Black Hole” colorway | Plan: heels and toes
  10. Purrfectly Catchy Designs Sock BlockersAlpacas! | Plan: block all the socks

What God’s Teaching Me

This week we’ve been so busy testing at school that I haven’t had my usual 20-30 minutes to sit, knit, and watch my Margin devotional videos before the day starts. I’ve fallen shamefully behind. However, I start this section each week thinking I won’t have much to say and end up writing a novel. I hope to have more content from the message itself for next week.

These next few lessons are all about financial margin. When I was a single person, I did so well having financial margin with tithing. On one paycheck it was quite simple to set up my church offering to come out of my account a few days after my monthly paycheck cleared. Now that tithing is a two-person commitment, we’ve found our faithfulness wavering. We also lack a home church since we moved away from the city. I find it difficult to send so much money where my heart is not committed.

Isn’t that the truth though? You can only give where you have faith. Three years ago I would have thought it was crazy to give 10% of my income to the church. Every month? Did you know you could lease a car for that kind of money? A decent one too! Before I was saved, my heart was committed to ME… and I did lease that nice car. But once my heart was in Christ, I felt a strong commitment to my church to give that financial portion back to God.

My husband and I need to find our roots in a church again and revive our financial faith in God. Because when you can trust God with that much of your money, he can do miraculous things with your heart.

What We’re Cooking

The thing that I was most excited to “cook” this week was household cleaners! A month or so ago I decided that I was using too many paper towels and Clorox wipes wiping down the kitchen and bathrooms each day. So I order a massive quantity of red shop cloths from Amazon to use instead. {I bought red to signify that red towels are distinctly for dirty things, not for food or hands; but next time I would get white towels- too many red fibers!}

You don’t need much to make your own cleaners.

My next step in this cleaning process was to find cleaners that I felt comfortable using with the cloths and washing in my machine. I didn’t mind 409 so much, even though when I sprayed down the kitchen counters it made me cough, but I really struggled finding something to clean the toilets. So I went to Pinterest to discover my own cleaners.

I mostly wanted to know what was in my products and how exactly they were cleaning my home. I found my granite cleaner and all-purpose kitchen cleaner here. I found my bathroom cleaner {another all-purpose cleaner, but with castille soap} and mirror cleaner here. I ordered most of my ingredients on Amazon and found the rest at my grocery store. These took minutes to put together!

I chose glass bottles for three reasons: 1) One site said that essential oils can break down plastic bottles over time. 2) I know that glass washes well in the dishwasher when it comes time to change what’s in that bottle. 3) When another person picks up a bottle thinking the rubbing alcohol is water {even though it’s labeled} they are going to notice the weight of it and think twice! My kitchen bottles are amber and my bathroom bottles are clear.

Bathroom cleaning tools.

And for the toilet bowl itself… baking soda! I ordered these red pepper shakers like you find at pizza joints so I can have a shaker of baking soda in each bathroom {I don’t have 12 bathrooms… but this was the cheapest option}. I’ll go into more detail next week in my “Something New” section on how each of these products are working.


On Sunday we had some food as well. Another freezer-to-crockpot meal from my big cooking day a few weeks ago- Chicken Quesadillas from New Leaf Wellness. I used canned jalapenos and boy was it spicy! We had black beans and rice on the side. We both enjoyed using the fresh tortillas from our local Kroger. {Sometimes it pays to live in Texas!}

Mid-week I made Stuffed Peppers from All Recipes. These are always a hit! This is the first time I used a recipe that didn’t use Mexican flavors. This recipe used spaghetti sauce and Italian seasoning. The only changes I made were reducing the cook time to 45 minutes and adding mozzarella cheese on top. How can you have stuffed peppers without cheese?!

I also whipped up another of my go-to breakfasts- Energy Bites. I’ll throw in whatever treats I already have at home. This week it was Reese’s Pieces and Craisins. Pro tipspray your measuring cup with Pam before you squeeze the honey inside and it will slide right off like a dream. Another helpful hint is to use only a 1/4 c. measuring tool. Scoop oatmeal first, honey {with Pam!} second, peanut butter third. Everything else I just eyeball. Then after refrigerating for an hour or so, I scoop mine out with a cookie scoop. You can’t exactly roll the batter because it will crumble, but squishing them into spherical form works well.

What I’m Reading

I finished “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle! It took me about 150 pages to really get into the book. While page 150 to almost the very end were great, but the ending disappointed me. I expected more! More action. More answers. I suppose that one would need to read the four subsequent books in the series to get the answers I was left wondering about… but I just didn’t enjoy it enough to keep going.

Current Read: “Quiet” by Susan Cain

I started reading, well listening to, a really interesting book called “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. I self-identify as an introvert, but I wanted to learn more! What makes me the way that I am? Why do I let calls go to voicemail instead of answering them?

I’ve learned a ton from the first chapter- like that introverts aren’t necessarily shy, but are often just over-stimulated {so me}. There’s a 20-question true/false quiz to help readers identify as more introverted or more extroverted. I was 17/20 introverted; my co-worker was 20/20 introverted (we work so well together!); and my husband was determined to be an ambivert at 10/20 introverted. How fascinating! I can’t wait to share more of what I learn in this book.

Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

3 thoughts on “Fiber Fest and Finances

  1. I’ve been thinking about Christmas presents already, too. Last year it was such a rush because I started in November, that it wasn’t even fun anymore. It is really thoughtful of you to think about giving your sister multiple sock pairs. I made a pair for my own sister, but she threw them in the washer so now she’s getting store bought gifts 🙂

    1. Oh no! I’m so sorry your sister washed the socks you worked so hard to knit 😖 My sister already comments how much she loves them and how cute they look in Birkenstocks- so she is worth every stitch!

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