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 🙂

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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!

I Popped My MDSW Cherry…

I know, I know. EVERYBODY and their mother on the East coast has been to MDSW(Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival) at least once. This past Saturday was my very first time. And it was sweet.

In the past I’d resigned myself to NYS Sheep and Wool (Rhinebeck!), because I was not willing to travel allllllll the way to Maryland. Most of my local knitter friends, and a bunch of distant ones made a regular pilgrimage down that way every first weekend in May. I figured now was my chance. Talk about overwhelming. I barely took photos of the goodies to be had, instead opting for the usual, ‘ I’m here, look!’-type shots. Hell, I’d even left the DSLR home(now you KNOW it was serious).
Pretty Sky
Sheepy decorations outside the festival entrance

Of course I took time out to show off a sock WIP( the Socks on a Plane have since been finished.):

Socks on a plane... at a festival! (Mine’s on the right).

The highlight of the festival was getting this: a skein of the Cobblestone Sock, by Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber co. Cobblestone sock, Canton colorway

I can’t wait to knit this gem!

Also, I managed to finish the Socks on a Plane in record time: 5 Days ya’ll!

Socks on a Plane, in Socks That Rock, Little Bo Peep colorway

This sock was insanely easy and the thick sock yarn made it go really fast. Socks that Rock is a popular sock yarn that sells like hotcakes at festivals. I got a bum skein with knots and tangles. I’m thinking they sell the oopses at these festivals. I like the yarn a lot for what it is, but I’m not sure if I’d ever buy it again if the usual quality is what I found at Rhinebeck (2013). We shall see.

What am I working on now?
Ashton shawl progress; Malabrigo sock, in Lettuce.

Meet the Ashton Shawl. I’m knitting this in Malabrigo Sock, in Lettuce. I know I bought two skeins of Malabrigo sock and couldn’t remember what shawls I wanted to knit with them. I just did the close-your-eyes-and-point and came up with this in my queue since 2012. What better time to knit it than now?, I say. So far, it’s a really relaxing, easy knit. Can’t wait to block this puppy!

So that’s it for this one. Stay tuned for a special event coming up in the next few weeks. I’ll give you a hint: socks. 😉

TTFN!

A Day Late, and a Yard Short…

Gap-Tastic cowl one yard short of bind-off

That’s pretty much how it happened. I’d used all three balls of the LB Wool-Ease Thick & Quick and was just short of finishing the bind-off when I ran out of yarn. I contemplated using 4 strands of some regular weight Wool-ease and hoping for the best. But sanity came over me and I backed out of that idea.  The upside of going back to the store for one more ball is that I can make a nice matching hat out of the remaining yardage. 😉 And I was so hoping to wear it this weekend. Oh well, onward.

The other day I decided to participate in Eat.Sleep.Knit’s annual Yarnathon for 2015( I’m a ‘Yarnicorn’!), and this is my first package:

 

Eat.Sleep.Knit Yarnathon entry package

(Clockwise from bottom left): Madeline Tosh Prairie, in Oceana, and then Gilded; Malabrigo Sock in Lettuce, and again in Impressionist Sky. The welcome packet came with a cute sticker, a little note pad and pen and a Yarn lottery ticket which netted me a store credit! Weeee! 😀
Madeline Tosh Merino Vintage
I had to be a bit greedy though, and picked up a skein of Madeline Tosh Vintage for a lovely hat I’d like to make: Tekstur, by Angela Tong. I loved this hat the moment I saw it and I just hope I can get it to fit my big hair!

I’ve also got a handspun merino hat on the DPNs as well:

 

Merino Handspun, "Gestures"

Perfect knitting for when I just need to keep my hands moving and not think so much. Like watching TV or podcasts or getting around on public transit. 😉

That’s what’s going on by me, How are things with you?

TTFN!

Big Things Are Coming…

…and Gaye over on The Confessions of a Yarn Ho is to blame. 😉 I’ve been viewing her beautiful WIPs and FOs and decided it was time to try something in a thicker yarn. Last time I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick was back in, oh… 2004 when I tried to knit the Sonnet sweater for myself. (I’m still gonna try it, just not with bulky yarn!). After a while things just got really heavy and I gave it up.

But now? NOW! I think I’m ready for Big Things. Quick cowls and hats are the order of the day, at least in this really cold, bitter Winter the Northeast is having right now. On the big needles:

2015-01-31_11-05-17

GAP-tastic Cowl, by Jen Geigley. (LB Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, in Cranberry).  I’m knitting this on 13s. I bought 15s just in case the 13s didn’t work out, but since I’m changing things up and knitting sideways on way less stitches I’m thinking this will be fine. I can’t wait to finish it! Admittedly, this won’t be AS quick as a single-loop style cowl done in the round, but this will be so worth the wait.

I’ve taken a short break from the latest socks I’m working on for the 60-Minute Sockagram because I’d really like to have quiet time to sit and just knit, and with all the moving around and errands I have to deal with lately, there’s just not much of that. I’m on the heel flap of the first sock, and that type of thing deserves close observation and attention.

That’s pretty much it for now. Of course, there will be knitting on this cowl and scheming on what Big Thing to knit next. 😉 You knew that, didn’t you?

TTFN!