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  😀

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!

NY Sheep and Wool–part 2!(The Haul Edition)

Despite the crazy that was Hurricane Sandy, October had been fairly good to me. Most years it is, because it’s my birth-month.  This year in particular I got spoiled like nobody’s business..

My Virtual KnitChat girls gifted me at every turn for my special day,  and some of us got the royal treatment at Rhinebeck as well. Knitters are some of the most generous people in. the. world.

While browsing the offerings, I did purchase a few goodies such as:

Finn fiber from Point of View Farm

1 lb. of Finn! I love me some Finn! I haven’t had any since Rhinebeck ’08, from Misty Mountain Farms. I went by their booth this year but they only had top, not roving. Bah. During a second pass-through on day 2 of the festival I found a vendor selling nothing but Finn products. Score! I will be sure to find them next time.

Little Barn haul

Another old stand-by that I did manage to get lucky with was Little Barn. I always make sure to stop by their tent and I was not disappointed. I’ve never spun Coopworth before so this will be my intro to it; 8 oz. total, plus 4 oz. of random dyed wool (maybe Corriedale?)

More goodies!

Then I scooped up 4 oz. of Falkland fiber from Into the Whirled and an oz. of Suri Alpaca with sparkle from Still River Mill. I’ve never spun either of these breeds so I’m really looking forward to them. Into the Whirled actually had a similar colorway all dyed into one braid but I chose the separated version so I could stripe the yarn myself. It finally occured to me why I sometimes get disappointed with the results of pretty colorways spun up: short color blocks get ‘muddied’ when they’re spun and plied; with separate color sections you can spin them end to end and navajo ply them for striped yarn. I’m hoping to spin the Alpaca on a hand spindle to get a really thin single. I spindle park-and-draft style so that shouldn’t be too hard.

Now, for the surprises(I told you knitters were awesome, didn’t I?):

Batts!

A mystery bump from Still River Mill and the infamous Loop Bulls-eye Batt! I’m guessing the ‘mystery’ part is the colorway, as the bumps were labeled as Alpaca and Merino. *shrug*. I’d heard a few things about the Loop batts, but never really considered buying one. I actually finished spinning up the singles last night to Navajo ply another day, and I swear pulling the fiber out of the middle was like a fiber-y clown car! There appeared to be 4 different colors but there were actually 5! I like big batts and I can not lie! ;). I will do a proper review of the spinning once it’s all done.

Merino fiber

Last but not least, almost 8.5 oz. of lovely pastel ‘clown-barf’ Merino fiber. I don’t know. All I did was look at it, put it back and 10 min later it got laid in my arms. Weeee 😀

So there it is!! Truthfully though, I could have left Rhinebeck empty handed and it still would have been a great time. I got to hang out with some of the coolest people I know: Yarnies!! 😀 Thank you ladies for an awesome time! I am truly blessed!

TTFN!

NY Sheep and Wool Festival… or, Rhinebeck 2012!

After a 4-year absence I got the chance to hit the NY Sheep and Wool Festival, aka Rhinebeck, again. The first time I went, I only spent the Saturday there, but after spending the weekend in 2008, I knew I’d have to continue making a serious vacation of this experience.  And, so it was a weekend this time too.

The highlights are as follows:

People:

LetteKnits, HeiressKnits, CiciCarry

(L-R)LetteKnits, HeiressKnits, and CiciCarry!!

G+ KnitChat finally meets.

My G+ KnitChat crew, clockwise(VivianneKnits, me, Monetb56, PDXLaceknitter and TamiKnits– we all rode up together except for Viv who freaking LIVES up there! I am Gel- Us!
Food:

Maple Cotton Candy!

Maple Cotton Candy, ohhh so good. I was holding out for these delectable soaps I found in ’08 from a vendor with no online presence, but alas, he was nowhere to be found.

and Fiber goods:

Untitled

Lots of decorated wheels. I keep saying I’ll do up mine, but I get lazy and scared of messing up so..

And don’t forget the sheep!

Untitled

Cheviot girlie!

And just think, I did this times two! We stayed all day on Saturday til we just about got kicked out, but left early on Sunday to avoid the crazy that is trying to get out of the parking lot all. at. once. Live and learn.

So much to see and do and tried to take photos of it all. Wallet in one hand, camera in the other and a ton of fun was had.

I will have to make a separate post of the actual haul, as I’m still trying to recover(and make room!)

 

If you’re heading out to SAFF this coming weekend, I hope your experience is just as, if not more fun!

 

TTFN!

Knit-Chat Alphabet Knits 2012

Aran Twist Socks

The lovely ladies of the G+ Knit Chat and I have begun a year-long project whereby we are going to start/work on/complete a project based on a corresponding letter of the English-language alphabet, every two weeks. Started on New Year’s day, which was conveniently on a Sunday, and I’m now working on “D”. The rules are somewhat up to interpretation, such that we can alter project names to suit.

The socks above are my “A” project. The Aran Twist Socks were a heck of a project, mostly because I kept messing up and having to restart. Annoying as heck but user error for sure. Nice simple pattern that I would likely do again. I did a different heel than what’s listed in the pattern but the main thing is the top and leg of the foot right? 🙂

Next up is my “B”. I had originally thought of the Buttercup Tunic (Ravelry link) sweater but that pattern is a disaster, IMO. I read through it to familiarize myself with the construction and couldn’t make heads or tails of why it’s constructed the way it is, so I changed my mind and went for a Tappan Zee Sweater, renamed ‘Bridge Sweater’ to fit the project. So far, not bad. I’m already done with the knitting. I opted to make it into a pullover instead of the cardigan it’s designed as. Not sure if that was a good idea, or if I just used a not-very-good choice of yarn because it bloomed like CRAZY with blocking. Instead of buttons I will be adding in some ribbon to cinch the neckline and button band. Whoops.

Then there’s “C”: the Caroline Hat. Caroline Hat

This needs a ribbon and I already bought it, but you know me, procrastination galore here in Chez Bean. I bought it the same day I got the ribbon for the Bridge sweater, so at least I’m on something of a roll in terms of acquiring the embellishments. I’m sure I’ll get it done before Fall. 😉

Finally, I’m on “D”. First, understand that projects are NOT required to be finished within the two weeks, just that it should be the main thing I’m working on.

'Da Age of Brass and Steam shawl

I’m knitting The (‘Da) Age of Brass and Steam next. It’s all in my own handspun. Some of the fiber is pre-dyed Grafton Fibers Merino that I picked up in a buying frenzy when I first learned to spin back in ’06. The rest is some undyed Merino that I dyed myself, with Koolaid the following year. I’m just now getting around to using it. I’m sort of on a stash-burning quest in the process of completing these projects. Kill two birds with one stone, or something like that.

Eileen is next on the horizon, though, guess what? She’s done! Except for the zipper, which makes things easier, but I’ll likely throw in a secondary “E” project for $hits and giggles. We’ll see..

TTFN!

Addiction–Not Pretty, but perhaps Useful

That was the theme for a recent photo from my 365 challenge. I’m referring to a washcloth pattern that I found, when looking for something small and portable to work on while running errands that required long waits or travel.

Washcloth in progress

I had about 8 or 9 balls of dishcloth cotton. I was supposed to make some new potholders but got sidetracked by a stuffed animal pattern, only to abandon that(for the time being), to wind up working on the washcloths. The pattern is easily remembered and that only fueled my crochet addiction.

I’ve got some Sugar n’ Cream ‘Denim’ yarn which is a bit thinner than the regular style. I’m going to make towels with those instead of cloths. Can always use more kitchen towels, right? 😉

I’m making minimal progress with Eileen. I’ve long since finished a front but I had to rip the second front when I realized I’d done too many waist decreases. Oopsie. I should be picking that up again in the next few days. It’s just the portable, mindless, addicting washcloths came into my life and totally took over.

On another note, I might wind up dropping the second towel to get back into wearables for the Beanlets. It’s getting cooler and that means hat and scarf time. Littlest is begging for gloves instead of mittens. I really am not a fan of knitting all those fingers. I convinced her to stick with mittens by telling her that your hand stays warmer if all your fingers are together; like in a mitten. She went for it, so I’m off the hook for now. 😉

I’ve got some undyed Merit brand 100% wool I picked up a the Save-a-Thon a while ago, I was making a shawl from it but it’s just too thick and not very shawl-like. It’ll make a decent hat for her and that’s what it’ll become. I just need to find a suitable pattern.

That’s what’s been going on with the yarn-craft.. If you’re looking for photos, check here!

Halfway There; In the Zone

I forgot how ‘in the zone’ I can get when I’m spinning. I can just prep my fiber and go. Adding on and adding on and lose track of time. All of a sudden, I’m half way there.

TdF day 6(5 for me)

Above: HelloYarn “Gestures” 100% Merino wool

As of this writing, I’ve since finished plying it and it’s awaiting a bath to set the twist.

 
Creatively Dyed singles

Next up is some Creatively Dyed bamboo/wool I got at Rhinebeck ’08.  I’m spinning it really thin, so I can navajo-ply it. It’s going so fast, that though  I’d originally figured it would be ready to ply on Wednesday, it might get done on Tuesday instead. So I’m looking forward to finishing this and moving on to the next fiber.

Today is actually supposed to be a rest day, but I decided I will spin today to make up for my starting a day late plus missing a day. Truth is, I’m having too much fun to stop at this point! 😉 I’m thinking, had I started on time and not missed a day I’d be done with the bamboo/wool and onto the next thing anyway. It’s all good.

 

TTFN!

A day late and a bobbin short…

HelloYarn Merino wool for Tour de Fleece

Every year, there are special fiber-craft events going on. Lacevember(and NaNoWriMo, for everyone) in November, Socktober in October, various Mystery shawls, and Tour de Fleece which is held during the Tour de France cycling event.

This will be my first time participating in TdF. I don’t have any specific spinning goals; I’m simply using this to get back into spinning. I admit I did get in over my head trying to spin an adult sweater’s worth of yarn(2 years ago) and that frightened me a bit. But I’m back in the swing of things, so to speak.

TdF began yesterday July 2nd but I’m starting today. No goals, remember? 😉

I’ll be spinning some lovely HelloYarn 100% Merino gifted to me by MUAKnits. YAY for crafting friends, huh? 🙂 I love HelloYarn fibers, so she must have read my mind because it couldn’t have come at a better time. Alors!

Fleece Festivals, Beanstalks, and ZOMG I ruined my Shawl!!

I know I promised a post about Mother’s day, shawl WIP photos, tea and potholders. That’s not gonna happen. At least not yet. Haven’t started the potholders and probably won’t for a while yet. Tea’s not really that big a thing to talk about here so I’ll leave that out. It’s rained probably 10 of the last 11 days so I couldn’t get any decent shawl WIP pics(though I will discuss the shawl and why the pic didn’t happen the one day it was sunny), and Mother’s day was really uneventful. So there.

Let’s get this show started!

I did get a gift for Mother’s day from Littlest Beanlet though. She brought a little seed packet with some dried organic green peas, a little slotted planter box(kind of like what berries are sold in), and a little baggie of soil. I planted the peas that day and 11 days later we have this:

Progress!

I put in 5 peas but only 3 stalks have emerged. Remember, how with the other plants I tried last year I lamented my lack of full sun in the livingroom. This little plant has spent most of its time on my the windowsill in my son’s room, where there’s more sun. So far it’s been thriving somewhat. I’ve been thinking about getting more peas and taking another chance at growing something. It hasn’t been all that sunny the last week or so and yet this thing just grew like wild! It’s quite encouraging..

Speaking of lack of sun, that last time we had a nice warm day I set out with the hubby to the local Botanical Garden again. Just the two of us for a little date. We had a great time, despite learning that we’d missed the cherry blossoms and magnolias. Aww. But we had an awesome time exploring the new Azalea garden:

At the Azalea Garden

There was a guy there with his tripod taking pictures and I was wishing I’d brought mine so I could get a picture of both of us, but a kind lady offered to take the picture when she saw me taking solo pics of him. Thank you lady, wherever you are!

On the way out the garden I was hoping to get a spread-out shot of the shawl but I couldn’t. When I pulled out the work I noticed I’d left it with a few stitches left to that row and the needle had come out of the short side!! Ugh. I put the needle back in and then realized some of the stitches seemed to have been dropped down a bit. I spent maybe 10 minutes standing there trying to figure out how many I’d lost(remember lace means YOs and such, which complicates counting rows), and wound up having to give up because we were running late to get the Beanlets from school in time. So I never got the picture I wanted. And I was horrified at not being able to figure out where the stitches were dropped exactly without just ripping back a few rows. The lifeline was back by about 10 rows and had partially snaked out of the row so ripping back would have required going back 21 rows!!(I had the lines every 12 rows). I was so heartbroken I didn’t even touch the shawl for a few days. When I finally did pick it back up again and really counted the row I discovered I’d screwed up the count somewhere and that I was initially correct in the number of stitches I’d first attempted to pick up. Phew!

Between all the recent crazy going on in the media and the seemingly unending rainy days, I was glad to get out of the house for a little sun and warmth with the Beanfamily. The Prospect Park Zoo was holding its annual Fleece Festival and since I’d missed every one of them since I’d first heard about it several years ago, I packed up everybody and we headed thataway. There were some tables hosting spinning and felting demos, as well as small weaving looms. Boy Beanlet took to the loom like a moth to a light:

I've rubbed off...
He did NOT want to leave! In the back of my mind I was thinking, “Hmm.. Maybe I can get a small loom if I tell hubby Boy Beanlet wants it, instead of me…”. Bad LadyBean! 😉

During the festival, there was to be two sheep shearing events and I got to take pictures and video of one of them! Yay!:

Cotswold Sheep pre-shearing

That cutie wasn’t too thrilled once she realized what was going to happen, but eventually she calmed down and took it like a trooper! Click through the photo to get to a video of the shearing! (approx. 6 min. long)

It was a glorious day and I’m glad I got to spend it with the people I love the most. 🙂

Stay tuned for more crafty fun!

TTFN!