Fall Knitting!

Getting ready for Monster Sock KAL

Hello Fall! While I honestly prefer the warmth of Summer, with its swimming and beach days, and street fairs, and block parties, etc, Fall is just as good when it comes to yarncraft. After all, it’s now #sweaterseason! And also, socks!!

The little balls of yarn you see above are waiting to be cast on for the Monster Sock KAL going on now til Halloween (10/31/18).  Jesse of the Hungry Cat Podcast and Sue are hosting this and there will be prizes!

Along the way I’m still plugging along on Starting Point. It’s way too unwieldy to take anywhere so it has become house knitting. Plus I’m wanting to spend as much time out of doors as possible while it’s still warm enough. Which, with the way the weather is going these days could be well into November, but you never know. Starting Point has been a crazy knit but it’ll be well worth it once it’s done and I can wear it. The colors are perfect for fall!

Not to be outdone, I’ve picked up(again) another hobby: reading. My reading has taken a serious dive over the last decade or so, between all my crafts and enjoying the internet. Of course, the perfect middle ground is to rent books from my local library system. With free apps like Overdrive or Libby(I like this one better), you can download many books to read or listen to just like you would if you went in person, and the best part is returning checkouts without leaving the house! Right up my lazy alley!

IMG_20180901_131052 IMG_20180901_131106

This is my reading log book. It’s actually a mini Happy Planner I’ve had for a year.  I gutted it and added blank pages to keep track of everything I read or listen to. So far, I’ve had a few good ones and a few not-so-good ones. Right now the hardest part is controlling the urge to borrow/place a hold on-all-the-books because hold times vary to the point where you could have a bunch of books waiting to be read before you finish your current one. Some of them are so popular you can’t just renew them, so you have to rush to read and that’s not as much fun. I don’t know who those people who can read a book in one sitting are, but my hat’s off to you!!

I find audio books are the best, because I can listen and craft/do chores at the same time. They got me through Tour de Fleece, that’s for sure!

So, what are you reading/listening to while crafting? What’s on your hooks/needles/loom/spindle/spinning wheel? Let me know!!

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And That’s a Wrap! Or, Nah I’m Gonna Keep Spinning.

Tour de Fleece 2018 is done! I just went all over the place with goals( or a lack thereof), with this one. I’m still in that place where I am not sure how my yarn’s gonna turn out, so I don’t make any concrete decisions as far as what I’ll be using a yarn for. I just spin it, and it becomes what it becomes. So everybody is making plans like, “Oh, I’m gonna spin for a sweater, a cowl”, etc. And I’m just here like,  “I’m gonna spin!” And so I did.

TdF Skeins

That’s almost everything. The Headcase fiber from a previous post is still in time-out while I decide to either untangle it or set it ablaze. I go to extremes. The orange-red fiber at the 7 o’clock is some unknown stuff I had on the bobbins prior to the Tour. I think it might be some wool fiber from the now-defunct Zarzuela’s Fibers shop. The pink skeins are Little Barn’s signature OOAK fibers which is probably a mishmash of different US breeds, as is the purple skein. The brownish-gray is some soft unknown stuff I was gifted back in 2007 and rounding out the gang is the ole’ confusing Wensleydale and its mystery lookalike.

I still have two fibers left that I spun singles from during the actual tour, and are either being plied or awaiting their turn:

Red KoolAid MerinoRed KoolAid Merino

Kool-Aid dyed Merino fiber I picked up eons ago from a now-closed local fiber shop. It was a bit of a nightmare to spin and I will be plying this with some commercially-dyed red Merino I have, but it is OH. SO. SOFT. Can’t wait to knit that up.

20180718_142455brown Ashland Bay singles bobbin 1

And lastly, some rich brown fiber that turns out is NOT Ashland Bay like I thought it was, but rather some Brown Sheep mill end fiber I got from SheepShed Studio back when I got my wheel and went fool buying All The Fiber. Rougher than the Merino but still a good spin. It’s currently being plied. One bobbin down, one(?) to go.

All in all, this year’s Tour de Fleece was fun. I did spin on rest days (shhhhh!) and missed a day when pink eye decided to try me, but I got back in the game and I think I did pretty good. As it turns out, there’s a Spanish version of the tour called the Vuelta a España, happening 8/25-9/16, so I’ll probably spin during that too. Oh, who am I fooling? I’m gonna spin regardless!

Peace and Blessings,

Tamara

I’m knitting. I promise.

Full disclosure: Years ago, when I first went to NYS Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck), I went there as a knitter. When I came home, I’d pretty much morphed into a spinner. I think I came home with more fiber than actual yarn. It was inevitable. I can honestly say, that’s something I noticed over the years: Rhinebeck probably is more geared towards a spinner than someone who prefers to work with finished yarn. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of ready-to-knit yarn available. But my interest likely would not have been the same had I not gone there with a few months of spindling under my belt.

I say all that to say, that I get into jags where I prefer one craft over another for extended periods of time, and that makes it hard to divide my time among them. I’m working on that. Really. In fact, I have been knitting:

WIP

I should tell you this sock is already finished and I’ve already passed the heel turn on the mate. I’m fast like that. Or, maybe I just took forever to post this. Who knows?

This is a plain ol’ sock (as that’s about all I’ve been in the mood for lately), in Asylum Fibers Golden Rule sock base, Colorway Chaos 1108. I couldn’t resist the sparkly at Stephanie’s Trunk show last fall. The yarn is very soft and it’s flying off the needles. I’ll be done with the sock before the week is out.

In deep WIP status:

Starting Point Shawl

Starting Point by Joji Locatelli has been on the needles for a full year now. I just kept finding faster, smaller projects that would distract me. Well, ok there’s been a sweater or two in there but damn, cut a girl some slack! I somehow fudged up the color sequence and tossed it in a corner for a bit. I’ve since figured out a way to get around it and continue the shawl, so long as I can keep from being pulled away by the siren song of spinning. Baby steps, ya’ll.

 

These are but two of the projects I will count towards the #FPGCDestash that’s going on the rest of the year. Join in the madness! Take whatever project you’re working on right now, weigh the remaining yarn you’re working with, and when you’re done, weigh what’s left to determine how much you actually used as of the time you entered the destash-a-long. (Or the total weight if you’re entering with a completely new project and not a WIP).  That’s it. There’s a group over on Ravelry to tally your progress, too.

 

What’s WIPing with you? 😀

Comment, like and share!

 

TdF 2018 Progress… Or, oh $hit what just happened?!

 

There I was, minding my own business when out of nowhere:

Awww $hit!

my Headcase went straight to hell in a yarnbasket! My niddy noddy decided to tell me to piss off and part of the skein slid off the flat end. Of course everything fell into a tangle of yarn and it was beyond saving. Luckily the yarn community is full of very kind, generous souls and a newer, better niddy is on its way to me soon. I don’t know when I’ll have the courage to try and untangle this monstrosity, but it won’t be anytime soon. Life’s(and TdF!) too short to play around with unruly yarn.

Which leads me to this:

Wensleydale and Mystery fiber

Remember the Wensleydale I was spinning up last time? Turns out, only ONE of these skeins is Wensleydale, apparently. I started out with what I thought was 8 oz, after I weighed what I’d found on one bobbin together with the REST of the unspun fiber that I knew for certain was Wensleydale. My old brain farts alot and so I don’t remember if the bag was already open or not. It DID appear to have some fiber missing, which is why I thought the already plied fiber was from that bag. So I spin the ‘remaining’ fiber, weigh it all up and the total is 10.5 oz!! I know I accounted for the bobbin’s weight (which is negligible), so that doesn’t add up.

Then I got to looking at the first yarn and realized, it’s a bit scratchier, and darker than ‘the remainder’. So I’m guessing that’s not Wensleydale after all. Add in the fact that I’m still missing a bobbin somewhere and who knows WHAT this fiber is? I added all the fiber that I KNOW is Wensleydale, minus that skein and it’s only 7.25oz. Sigh. Never a dull moment huh? Final yardage and WPI tally will occur when I’ve finished plying the rest of the singles. So far though, I’ve got 353 yards of Wensleydale and 179 yards of who-knows-what. Probably a DK weight but I’ll have to check.

Mystery Brown Fiber

Moving right along! This mystery fiber (that’s apparently a theme around here), is 4 oz and approx. 145 yards of DK weight. It’s very soft to the touch. It was a gift to me and the giver didn’t know what it was either. Oh well. It was quick and fun and I wish I had more.

Next up on the wheel is this gorgeous purple/white combo from Little Barn. I swear I need to stop buying from them because most of their best fiber isn’t even categorized. What is this fiber?? I wanna say Corriedale, but I could be wrong. It’s just labeled, 100% Fine Wool. Sigh. It’s coming out really fine, alright. I’m gonna try and 4-ply this bad boy and get some mittens out of it. 4oz, though there’s another 4 of the same color. I doubt I’ll spin that the same way.

Purple Little Barn Mystery Fiber

Beautiful, isn’t it? Monday 7/16 is a rest day in the Tour de France, so we spinners also take a break. This gives me a chance to rest the singles(and my spinning muscles!) until I’m ready to ply on Tuesday. Also I get to browse my stash and figure out what gets on the wheel next! Plus there’s knitting to be done for the FiberPunk/Grianaig Creations Destash. I’ve yet to post about my progress but that’s coming up later this week!!

 

What are you working on??

Please comment, like and share!

 

Happy Crafting!

Tamara 🙂

Tour de Fleece Is Underway

The annual Tour de Fleece spinning challenge which coincides with the Tour de France cycling tournament has begun. Spinners from all over the world are either spinning along during the actual broadcasts or watching recorded sessions, among other things. In either case, everybody is getting in some serious fiber time.

On my bobbins:

Wensleydale singles

First up is 8oz of 100% Wensleydale I picked up probably Rhinebeck 2013. With a very long staple length, this fiber is very easy to spin. Not having spun on the wheel in a while, I had a brain fart when it came to plying it up, but I quickly recovered and the plying is coming along nicely. I actually had some of this fiber already worked up but I can tell the ply is not as good as it should be, so it’ll be revisiting the wheel once this ply session is over.

The Wensleydale so far:
Wensleydale plied

While that’s getting plied up, there’s this gorgeous colorway, Headcase from Knitty And Color. Its 100% Merino fiber. Spinning this was definitely eye-opening. I forgot how much harder it is to spin Merino fiber with its very short staple length. I think the only thing shorter might be cotton. Either way, I’m just now remembering how hard of a time I used to have with this fiber and my heart sank a little when I realized just how much of my stash is Merino. But you know what? I’m just gonna go with the flow and see how it goes! But not right now. 😉

The singles:
Merino singles- Headcase

Pretty, right? One other setback was the amount of pre-drafting this fiber needed. Granted, it was compacted into a braid that had been sitting who knows how long before I bought it like 4 years ago. 3? I don’t know. Ya’ll thought I was lying when I said I had deep stash. I still got stuff from 2007 to spin. Yeah. Don’t judge.

I’m still contemplating which fibers to choose next.  So far the only challenge I can see myself attempting is to spin carded fiber long-draw. I have some Finn that I picked up Rhinebeck 2017 on a whim– $20 for a lb of dyed Finn?? Hell Yes!– that would be perfect for that type of drafting method. Might as well try now. Or maybe I’ll try some mystery fiber I’ve had in the stash a while to practice before I screw up the good stuff. We shall see.

Do you spin? What’s in your fiber queue?

Tamara  😀

Craft-a-Longs Galore!

It’s finally Summer! That doesn’t stop me from yarn crafting, though. I just have to change up WHERE I’m working to get stuff done without heatstroke.  It’s going to be a scorcher this first week of July and I would easily mosey myself down to a local pool to cool off, but the call of yarncraft is a bit stronger.

Two big crafting events either going on now, or about to start are: 1) FibrePunk/ Grianaig Creations Destash-a-long (FPGCDestash) and 2) Tour de Fleece (TdF) 2018.

The FPGCDestash started yesterday 7/1/18( Oops, I’m late!) and continues for 6 months, until 12/31/18. That’s PLENTY of time to use up yarns and finish up WIPs that have been languishing in your stash or WIPs pile since the beginning of creation. I’ve got one main knitting WIP right now (Starting Point, by Joji Locatelli), but I have a few #MakeNine2018 items still to be done. So long as I don’t keep adding things to my ‘wannamakenowmustmakenow’ list– I’m looking at YOU Sock Arms– I should be set with projects for the rest of the year. 😉  So head on over to the Grianaig Creations Podcast page on Ravelry for  more details and to join in the destash fun!

Also going on for 3 weeks in July, from 7/7 to 7/29, is the annual Tour de Fleece challenge, which coincides with the Tour de France cycling tournament. This will be my second attempt at participating and I’ve got my work cut out for me:

neglected bobbins

Between bouts of spinning startitis and having issues with my spinning wheel I’ve managed to leave a bunch of bobbins in various stages of progress. The tour starts in 6 days and I have to somehow empty these bobbins without losing any singles. For at least two of them, I can’t even tell you what fiber I was spinning. I know what’s going on with the yellow/greenish color in the middle, and I may use that to test-spin/ply until the actual event starts. The fullest bobbin is what I started of some Wensleydale top I got from Little Barn eons ago. The speckled fiber on the left, I have NO idea about. I have seen some unplied singles in a bin I’ve been storing handspun in, but I don’t think I have anymore of the unused fiber left so I’ll probably just wind that off and ply everything sometime after the tour.

And there you have it! Join one or both of these yarn craft events and show your progress! Find me here, and search #fpgcdestash or #TdF/ #TourdeFleece on Instagram for more participants photos.

Still Hanging Around

Yep,  the blog is still up, just haven’t been posting with work responsibilities. But now that THAT’s a thing of the past, I’ve decided to bring the blog back into play. Stay tuned for more yarn shenanigans coming up! Orla socks instagram capture

Spring 2016 Goings-on

Back in April I began participating in a sock knitting KAL wherein you knit a pair a month, saving them in a box until you’re done. I’m not sure why I can’t just wear them when I’m done, but I love knitting socks so I joined. *shrug*.

April’s socks:

Plain socks

Just some plain socks I knit up in Dragonfly Fibers’ Super Djinni sock yarn. I was knitting a lace pattern at first but it didn’t show well at all, so I just went straight to plain stockinette. It’s the perfect go-to for variegated yarns.

May’s socks:

Aradena socks for Biggest Beanlet

Aradena Socks, by Tinksdarkerside. I knit these in this gorgeous Cascade Heritage Prints in Roses. I kept getting lots of compliments on this yarn, and I’m looking forward to knitting myself a pair in this. These will go to Biggest Beanlet this Fall.

Currently, June’s sock WIP: 20160604_121356

The Don’t Cage Me In Socks, by Heather Kinne.  The yarn is some wonderful yarn called WonderSock by Gale’s Art in the colorway Stoney. Love, love, love.  These are actually supposed to have the lattice patterning on the back of the leg. I’m not doing that though: it turns out(and I knew that, I probably just forgot!) that moving stitches from needle tip to needle tip  is impossible when knitting both socks on the magic loop at once. I was away from home and without a second needle when I realized this, and was unwilling to put the project down(I was #waitingroomknitting) and so I just decided to knit the back of the legs plain. NO harm, no foul. I’m pretty much Team 2-at-a-time-socks these days, so I’m reluctant to knit them one by one.

The Aradena socks were knit one at a time and I have no idea why. Usually, I guess I’m just on autopilot and don’t want to deal with SSS(second sock syndrome). These socks are currently further along than in this photo. In fact, they’re almost done! 😉  Stay tuned for an in-the-b0x shot of the first three pairs!

 

In spinning news, I finally got Dutchie fixed!! My poor spinning wheel had all sorts of issues: noisy, shifty footmen, a missing tension spring(I’d been making do with fishing line and rubber bands!), and the list goes on. I went to spin a few weeks ago and the footmen had completely dry-rotted and broken. After some quick research, I was able to get all the parts required to fix the wheel up and I have been spinning!

Falkland Wool from Into The Whirled

What you see here is some Falkland wool I picked up at Rhinebeck 2012 from Into The Whirled. It had been sitting on the wheel since I started spinning it a few years ago, when I started having serious issues with the wheel, which caused me to stop. I tried desperately to pick up where I left off, but nothing I did would allow the singles to take up onto the bobbin without breaking off. Then,  just my luck I’ve lost the end of the fiber and can NOT find it. So I started a new bobbin with the rest of the fiber(on the left), and am currently plying it.  It’s not the softest yarn( neither the Falkland nor the unknown undyed fiber (Could it be Cotswold or Romney?) I’m plying it with are soft fibers, but hopefully a good soak will smooth things out. One can only hope!

What are you knitting/spinning these days? Hit me up in the comments!

MDSW 2016

So where were we? Been a while, I know. Let’s get down to business, shall we?

 

Yes I’ve been knitting and spinning and sewing and all that good stuff. I’ll catch you up later. For now, feast your eyes on my MDSW 2016 haul!:

Marigold Jen Sock Yarn

MarigoldJen sock yarn in Superwash Merino/Nylon. My initial plan for MDSW this year was to focus on nice sock yarns. I swear most of the time all I saw was a lot of 100% wool with no kind of strength fiber whatsoever! I was trying to avoid the usual suspects as far as sock yarns go (you know who I mean), and wanted something I’d never tried before. This jumped out at me at the Hobbledehoy booth and I had to have it. I broke my no-more-variegated-sock-yarn rule with a quickness!

Merino/Angora from Oasis Farm Fiber Mill

Next up, some Merino/Angora in sportweight from Oasis Farm Fiber Mill. I’d never heard of them before and the wool/bunny fiber combo sucked me in. I couldn’t believe the price, and in the back of my head I’m wondering if there’s really any angora in this but it’s such a glorious blue and I like the handspun-like quality of the yarn so I’ll let it slide. I foresee an cowl and hat for this winter. 😉

Superwash Merino/Nylon from Hobbledehoy

Now, on to fiber! You know, when I first started going to fiber festivals back in 2006, I was primarily a knitter/crocheter. I’d learned to spindle that May and decided Rhinebeck would be a good place to get large quantities of fiber, and I was right. I’d always felt that these festivals were geared mainly to spinners with the sheer abundance of spinning fiber and fleeces available. I can honestly say I have come home with way more fiber than finished yarn from these things! I have no regrets. This year was no different. Hobbledehoy Superwash Merino/Bamboo/Nylon in  yellow I know for sure I have never spun before. I was thinking I might spin the yarn for the last pair of socks in this challenge I’m doing wherein I knit a pair of socks to fill a box in a year’s time. I guess it’s time to get the wheel in motion. No way I can spindle this in time with all the projects I’m looking to get into.

Fine Wool from Little Barn Fine Wool from Little Barn

Last but not least, I had to stop at Little Barn. I didn’t even realize they came to MDSW and didn’t think to find them last year when I went. Now I know. I’d run into a spinning friend and she had a bag full of fiber. I hightailed it over to where they were and this is the damage. 100% fine wool. I have NO idea what breed it is, and I don’t care. I love these colorways. They always dye with such rich, fun colors. And for the price, it can’t be beat. My only issue is that these colorways are one-off runs and they don’t repeat them. I wish they’d try at least! 😉

That’s it for this post. Stay tuned for WIPS and FOs!

My Design: Therese Socks

The time has finally come to announce my entry into the world of Knit Designing! It’s been a long time coming, with 11 years of knitting and yarn-play behind me. I present to you: Therese Socks.

Therese Socks front

These socks were inspired by the beautiful Radiant Gradient cowl, designed by fellow KnaturalPurl Therese Ross-Carter. A knit designer and an accomplished motivational author, Terrie encouraged me to get in the ring and start creating my knit-dreams. Without her nudging, I’d still be thinking about publishing my own patterns. It’ll be a challenge but I can count on her to put her foot in my notions bag when I need it. 😉

Therese Socks side.

I figured I’d start with the one thing I’ve knit more of than anything: socks. So many options for toes, heels, stitch patterns to choose from, why not? This was truly a labor of love, with everything from realizing that what I KNOW doesn’t always make sense to others, to being disciplined in terms of timelines, to getting so frustrated at formatting the pattern template that I was ready to smash my laptop! (Luckily, it never came to that!)

I also want to thank ALL my Purls and ALL my yarnies for all the advice, encouragement, and well wishes on this endeavor.

Like what you see? Get the pattern on Ravelry (it’s free to join!), get to stitchin’ and enjoy this simple, lacy sock.

TTFN!