Ok, so my participation in Tour de Fleece this year is a little half-assed. I know I have serious stash to spin down, and honestly, the Tour is a good reason to do it.
For those of you unaware, Tour de Fleece is an event that spinners participate in on Ravelry during the Tour de France. There are actual rules for it, most based on what your team affiliation is. Different groups have different rules. I’m not a fan of rules, so we can call this Team KnitHitsTheFan, party of 1.
I waited until late afternoon to start my spinning. I spent the morning straightening up my project corner so I would be ready for that art project I am waiting to start (my twine is in the mail). I found some unassembled hearts, so I seamed and stuffed them. I also did a little bit of weaving. That’s that round thing in the picture above. Trust me, it’ll look better once I get more stuff on it.
Since the holiday was on a Friday, I moved knit night to Saturday. It was a good reason to get together and start the Tour off right. Court brought her supported spindle to spin on, and I rocked Lucy all evening.
I guess my first day wasn’t too shabby. I thread plied 176 yards of wool single that I had sitting on a bobbin from about a week ago. I also busted through 4 ounces of 20% Milk protein/20% Seacell/60% Wool that I got from Creatively Dyed a few years back. I have three 4 ounce braids, so I am planning on spinning them all, then plying all three together.
I hope to come up with a plan of attack for my fiber, but I know how ADD I am. I’ll just end up pulling things out of the stash willy-nilly and and if I get bored spinning a color, I’ll switch to another. That is pretty much how I operate.
It has not been an easy road, but I am slowly getting there.
I started Big Al at least three times. Ripping out because I was unsure about gauge…ripping out again because of twisted yarn…I was starting to feel like a complete novice. I thought maybe I was losing my knitting mojo.
I hope I am not jinxing it, but I feel like I am on track now. My Miss Bab’s yarn has held up well despite my abuse. I am being extra careful, but not going so crazy that I can’t work on this project while I catch up on my favorite television. I am really liking the way it is turning out so far.
And now that I am getting a handle on double knitting, Courtney has talked me into trying a steeking project. I am not sure where it will fall in the queue for this year, but I already have all the yarn I need for it. Court frogged the Mountain View Cardigan that has been sitting half-knit in my stash closet and wound it into the most amazing center pull balls. It’s ready to be Oranje now.
I had said previously here on the blog that I wasn’t intending to take part in this years Yarn Crawl. I had a whole lot of reasons for this, not at least was that I really need to spin down my fiber stash.
Of course, Courtney was holding out some major hope that I would change my mind at the last minute and give in to the yarn fumes. I compromised a little. Due to a series of fortunate events, star aligning and the like, I was able to get out of work an hour early on Friday. I knew this was going to happen early enough to tip off Courtney, so during the time we would usually be converging on one of our usual places for our regular Friday Night Stitch and Bitch, we were sitting in my van in traffic chatting about Pokemon and heading toward Long Beach.
We met up with Angelique at Alamitos Bay Yarn Company and pretty much stayed until they closed. It is one of my favorite stores and I really love the ladies that work there. They are so friendly and eager to help people out. They have a great yarn selection and have some really lovely looking pattern samples. If you can’t get something there, they will help you figure out where to get what you are looking for…
I had more reasons than that to have this be the store I hit. We had met this lovely lady named Pat Spencer at Stitches West this year, and I ended up buying one of her shawl pins. At the time we had met her, she had told us that she really didn’t have an online presence yet, but that she sold her pins at this cute little yarn store that she was sure we probably hadn’t heard of. When she mentioned that it was Alamitos Bay, we squealed with delight and told her how much we love the place. We knew they would have pins available at yarn crawl, and Courtney and I were hunting for some.
But that isn’t where the madness ends.
There was a woman there with this beautiful carpet bag…the only one in the store…and I happened to fall in love with it. Now, the weird thing, I was just on the website for this particular brand of bag earlier in the week finding links for an artist I know on Twitter who was looking for bags with good pockets. I had told her she should look into knitting bags. Heck, I have a ton of knitting bags, but I use them mostly as purses because the pockets are so plentiful. I had sent her links to two other sites (Namaste and Jordana Paige) because of their purse-like styles. I hadn’t given a second thought to Off Hand Designs, because I have never owned one, and never seen the newer bags in person.
Oh wow. I had never thought I would have to fight the urge to knock down a perfectly innocent, nice lady and take her bag from her. Of course it was the only one in the store. Of course I wanted it.
Later on, Courtney had pulled up the Off Hand Designs website and we found what we thought was the bag. Had I just looked at the picture online, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about getting it, but now that I had seen what it looked like in person, I just had to have it. I called Alamitos Bay Yarn Company first thing on Saturday morning to ask about that lovely lady who bought the bag (turns out her name is June) and confirm what type of bag it was. I ended up ordering it. It’s a limited edition of 16.
So the moral of the story? I can just as easily blow what might be my entire budget for yarn crawl in less than 24 hours by going to just one yarn store. This might be an all new personal best for me. My husband jokes that he is so thankful I don’t have expensive taste.
I am sure that everyone has different ways of calculating the enormity of their stash. I believe mine boils down to volume. I’m constantly justifying it by saying things like “Once it’s spun down, it won’t take up nearly as much space”. The problem is that I haven’t been spending much time (until recently) spinning it down.
I live in a condo with three other humans that also have stashes of their own. From sports cards to toys, it all takes up space. Space we don’t seem to have. Sure, I have an armoire dedicated to my yarn (and some beads and other craft supplies), but I also have a pile of garbage bags behind my closet door filled with fiber. I have it jammed in a cabinet in my dining room and in the closet by the front door. It’s everywhere and it is starting to feel overwhelming.
(There you go…I’m sharing my fiber hoarding secrets with you…)
I am also starting to feel like I should be making more things with my hand spun yarn. I haven’t done much with what I have so far yet. I’ve sold some, or given it as gifts, but I should really be making things with it too.
On the other hand, I am trying not to beat myself up about all of my fluffy things. I will get there. I am skipping yarn crawl…so maybe that might be a good weekend to binge spin.
In the meantime…you can take a look at my new pretties… all dry and skeined up! They’re just waiting to be tagged and placed in the space I made in that armoire for my very own yarn.
So, I think it’s time I make a confession…
I have a lot of fiber in my stash.
I feel incredibly guilty about this. It’s really taken over my stash. I even have it hidden in weird places around the house. It’s making me feel like I can’t breathe. This is how I know it’s time to really start spinning again. It’s a good thing this feeling is coming on now, post Stitches West, when I still have the momentum to get things made. This is also one of the reasons I decided to skip Los Angeles Yarn Crawl this year…
To start, I decided to clear off some bobbins that had been full and ply some of my singles. One of these (the blue and orange one) was a gift from a coworker. I’m excited to share how it looks once it’s spun and set.
For now, it looks like this…
Well, all of the Crafty Christmas gifts have been given, which means I can finally start sharing them with the world. I am so glad too, since it’s been really difficult to keep these projects under wraps!
Let’s start with the present I made for Courtney…Pigment from Leethal Knits.
This was a fun pattern to knit. I think at some point I will try and make one for myself. It appealed to my love of weaving in ends.
Hopefully I’ll get the chance to take a photo of Courtney wearing it some time. It turned out to be the perfect size… and the color combination made me super happy.
Now that I’m home from Stitches West and will very soon be in possession of more fleece, I figured it was as good a time as any to start trying to spin down my fiber stash. Here are some of my pretties…
Of course they aren’t quite done yet. I plan on plying them.
Over the weekend I worked on chain plying some Red Fish Fiber too!
Day Three was, by far, the most relaxing day…but that is what happens when you get a message from a guy in a kilt.
I mostly roamed around on Sunday and didn’t spend too much money. There were a couple of purchases that I squeaked in right before the big raffle at 1pm. Just a little bit of fiber though…
I was excited about wearing my Celestarium, because I had purchased a brand new shawl pin for it. It’s pretty cool, because it’s a spiral. You can sorta see it in the picture above. It’s orangey gold and it looks great with the gray yarn. I bought it because it reminded me of a little spiral galaxy.
Then something crazy happened. We found ourselves back at Judy’s looking through her fleece samples. The three of us put a hold on four fleeces (our top three and one alternate) for next year. Oh my… I had better start spinning down my stash!!
A friend of mine had mentioned that she was scouring my blog for pics of my Celestarium, but couldn’t find any. Honestly, the pictures I had posted of this shawl were really kind of awful. I took the opportunity to have someone snap a photo of it for me, just to repost.
This is what I ended up coming home with. That felt birdhouse was a gift for my mom. Everything else is mine, all mine! It really doesn’t look like a lot, but I spent quite a chunk of my budget on buttons.
Saturday morning started off with David spoiling us with Psycho Donuts! We needed all that sugar to get through a full day on the Stitches floor!
I have to say, I don’t feel like I did much in the way of shopping for myself on Saturday. I mostly concentrated on trying to spend other people’s money. Can you say “Enabler”? That’s is me when it comes to spinning wheels.
I even tried out a few myself. No, I don’t need another right now. I barely have space for the two I have.
About an hour before the floor closed, I felt the need to take a break. That backpack was heavy and I wanted to start winding the yarn for my new project. I didn’t spend very long in the hotel bar though, we had supplies to buy…people to meet…fleece to wash…
Oh my goodness! I have so many pictures to share with you! My weekend was so full of excitement, I’m still recovering…
I left bright and early Friday morning with my knitters for the long drive up to Santa Clara. We made a few stops, but we got to the hotel in time to meet our friends for lunch!
After lunch we headed straight to Stitches so we could hit the floor and start checking it out. David tried to lead us in being methodical about traversing the floor, especially since Angelique was a first-timer. It can be incredibly overwhelming because there is just so much to see and do.
For a hot second, I thought this might be the year that I spring for a skein of Qiviut. Um…nope.
We had made it through a few aisles when we reached the Cephalopod Yarns booth. I tried to show some restraint, but I found the perfect yarn for my next project and there was very little of it left. While I was deciding whether to buy it or not, I got some bummer news from home…that is when I decided to go all out and start my shopping spree. Hooray for retail therapy! I picked up four skeins for my project, then I headed to the button booth for some well deserved decompression time. I bought a few fistfuls of vintage buttons. I had purchased everything on my wish list… and I had only been there a few hours.
After my spending spree, Courtney, David and I found ourselves at the booth where the fleeces live. That’s where exciting things happened.
We can chat more about this later…
Then we finished off the night enjoying our Dhoom Pizza at Tasty Indian. Indian Pizza…it’s now a tradition.