Back in October, at the CogKNITive Fiber Retreat, I had purchased a shawl pattern called Winona designed by the lovely Brenda Castiel. I knew as soon as I had seen the sample that I wanted to knit it for my mom for Christmas. I ordered skeins of Miss Babs in Old Gold and Field Mouse and started knitting as soon as they arrived.
It was a really fun knit. There is something about slip stitch patterns that makes me really happy. Like turning the heel on a sock. It just feels nice.
Now that I am moving full steam ahead on various Work/Birthday/Christmas/Celebration-type projects, I am finding I have very little time to work on anything for myself. I have been wanting to start the Leftie for awhile now, but haven’t had much time to do so. I still don’t really have time to work on it, but at least I started *something*. It’s a garter stitch project, so it makes for some mindless knitting…and it is still small enough to fit in my purse.
I could have done a stash dive for yarn for this one, but once I saw that Madelinetosh was selling Unicorn Tails, I decided I would just go ahead and buy the yarn. Yeah…I really had to have my arm twisted. I mean…look!
Hopefully I will get some more downtime to work on this soon. Thanksgiving is coming and I don’t have to cook this year. A holiday weekend to catch up on crafts…Hooray!
I’m sorry readers.
I have been MIA for quite a while. Things have been pretty exciting here… and I have been pulled in all sorts of directions. Hopefully in the next handful of blog posts I might be able to touch upon some of the things I have been working on… or maybe this will be a boatload of pic spam. I dunno. I am just just rollin’ with it.
Last month, I went to the CogKNITive Fiber Retreat to spend the weekend with Doctor Gemma and all of my other fibery friends. There was good food…good company…and I nearly got kicked out of the hotel. Yeah, it was an exciting weekend!
I can’t remember if I had mentioned it here before but (*nerd alert*) I modded the Kraken Cowl Pattern chart to adjust the eyes to make it more anatomically correct.
It was definitely a memorable weekend, despite the craziness! I look forward to going again next year!
Oh look! Another seriously belated post. Go figure!
But hey, I’m one step closer to clearing all those drafts out!
Here is what I completed this year for Tour de Fleece. I wasn’t spinning with a team or anything, so it really is NBD…but I thought maybe someone out there might wanna see what I had spun up.
That’s pretty much all of it (well, minus a skein I had spun pre- tour and plied during the tour).
Pictured above is 2 skeins of Creatively Dyed (that I purchased at Stitches West a few years back) 20 milk protein/ 20 seacell/ 60 wool, try 3-ply, 729 yards total and 1 skein of wool/silk/abunchofotherstuff, 2 ply (ply only), 95 yards.
Also, just for fun, I figured I would show off a skein of non-tour yarn. Below is the yarn I spun for Courtney for her birthday. I called it Autumn Candy Corn and it is 80 Merino/ 20 Silk from Bee Mice Elf Fiber (purchased at CogKNITive Fiber Retreat last year), 2 ply, 390 yards.
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.