handspun

Texture, oh texture!

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Things have been a little hectic lately for many reasons; namely here wedding planning in full swing, various knits in progress, tour de fleece and a week-long vacation spent visiting my soon-to-be in-laws in Ohio. I won’t bore you with all the details, but let’s just say that it’s been a little hard to keep up with everything.

First thing first, I want to share with you all my happiness as I found a fellow knitter on Ravelry who was sweet enough to send me her Cascade Heritage’s leftovers so I could finish my Dessine-moi un mouton. Yay! I started working on the sleeves last week and should very soon have something interesting to share with you guys so stay tuned!

In other news, I also just recently finished test-knitting this gorgeous Call &Response Cowl for the lovely Sarah Schira and I am in love with it! This design hasn’t been published yet, but I’ll make sure to update this post with the link as soon as it is.

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The pattern was every shade of perfect;  it’s easy to follow, it’s fun and interesting to knit and it’s got lots of changes so it’s never boring. I also love the fact that the cowl is tapered off towards the top, creating a very flattering shape around the shoulders. Awesomeness!

Among other cool things, I’ve also been spinning along a little bit as the tour the fleece is progressing, but I must say that I have been making very, very little progress on the gorgeous Merino/Tencel roving I started. Since the tour is almost over already, I think it’s obvious by now that I won’t finish in time but I’m fine with that – a little spin is better than no spin at all, isn’t?

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On the personal front, we’ve been enjoying the summer weather and people’s company; hanging out with my honeybee’s family, going to the zoo & attending my very first Air Show at the Toledo airport on the 16th. Much much fun in very good company! 🙂

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Enough about me now, how’s been your summer so far yarnies?

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Fickle spring

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Last Monday was very cold, we even had a little bit of snow in the morning and a whole lot of rain. Since I was feeling a little chilly (and because Melanie Berg’s Any shawl KAL was going on), I decided to cast on a handspun, lace weight version of the Sunwalker. Even though it’s May, it seemed like a good idea at the time – but now, only one week later, I’m done with my shawl but it’s sunny out and the temperature rolls in the 80s so there’s just no need for a shawl anymore. Oh well.

Either way, here’s my Sunwalker Shawlette made out of my Rusted spaceship hanspun yarn, made last summer during the Tour de Fleece.

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I used every little bit of this scrumptious yarn down to the last 4 to 5 yards, and I am SO happy at how it turned out! The Sunwalker pattern is very versatile and easy to adapt to different gauge, weight yarn or yardage, and it allows you to showcase a yarn with both a lace and a texture section. I will definitely use this pattern again, and if you plan on starting a shawl this spring or summer I highly recommend you give this one a try.

Happy knitting all 🙂

Peacock beauty

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The last few weeks have been crazy busy for me, both at work and in my personal life, and in my book that generally means dealing with A LOT of stress. As a form of damage control and to let off some steam I’ve been trying to crunch a few minutes of knitting or spinning when I can to (somewhat) try to keep the stress under control. Fortunately for me, it’s been successful on two fronts; I’ve been able to keep stress on a manageable level and I’ve been making great progress on some super fun yarny projects, so yay!

The first thing I want to show you is my last spin, a fingering weight navajo plied yarn I just finished yesterday using some malabrigo nube I had in stash, in color “solis”. It’s 112 grams and 407 yards of yummy merino goodness, and I’m really excited to show it to you because it’s the first time I’ve plied a full skein using the navajo plying technique, I am so thrilled!

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On the knitting front, I’ve also been making pretty good progress on my golden afternoon sweater, an all-over lace pattern called Clementine Pullover, from Carole Francone. I am not thrilled with the pattern, I’ll give you a full review once the sweater is done, but I must say that I absolutely LOVE the lace stitch. To make this the perfect summer top, I’m using some Euroflax Sport Weight yarn in color Goldenrod.

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And sometimes, magic happens!

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For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to make a project using some of the handspun yarns I have. I’ve been spinning for a couple years now and during this time I’ve made several yummy handspun additions to my stash.

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I must confess though that aside from my unsuccessful BlueSand Cardigan attempt currently wasting away in the slumber pile, I had yet to finish a project using any of those gorgeous handspuns, and I thought it was such a shame! But earlier this week, inspiration stroke as I was going through my friend’s activity feed on Ravelry, and noticed someone had made an Arika Cowl. The pattern immediately piqued my interest because I thought it would be a perfect match for my Cheshire Cat purple handspun; it was the right yarn weight and yardage combined with a fun and unusual construction for a cowl, with an amazing fringe as a bonus.

I got so excited that I immediately bought the pattern and cast-on on Monday. Tuesday, the body was done, and I still had a full skein left so I thought I could make a matching hat. Since I had decided at that point to make the cowl with buttons instead of a seam, I quickly went around the pattern database looking for a hat pattern with a button in about the same yarn weight, and found the (free!) Moss Stitch Hat pattern from Erin Anton. Just perfect!

And following this streak of sudden inspiration, magic happened…

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Tour de Fleece 2015 and stuff

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Well guys, I feel like I really owe you all an heartfelt apology. Although I have been keeping myself pretty busy lately with many fiber things, I have been selfish enough to not share it with you. Unforgivable, right? Well, to make amends, I decided to share with you all today what I’ve been working on in the last couple weeks.

First things first, I decided to participate again this year in the Tour de Fleece with the girls from Papote et Placote. However, as I am not a very competitive spinner, I’m simply tagging along at my own rhythm, never mind the slow turtle pace. Since the beginning of the tour, which was on July 4th, I have spun about 60 grams of yummy Malabrigo sweetness that I am quite happy about. Here’s what it looks like:

FotorCreatedI have not been a very dedicated spinner since my neck has been killing me for days now, but I do what I can. And since the Tour de Fleece has been putting me into a spinning mood, I have also been thinking about how to use all those beautiful handspun yarns I have, that I still haven’t touched. I know, I’m lowering my head in shame now but I have to admit that since I started spinning last year, I have not used a single yard of handspun. Shame on me! It’s not because I don’t like them, on the contrary! But I think I have been waiting for an illumination; for the perfect project to showcase my handspun yarn. And after many a thought about it, I think I finally found it. Here’s the magical project I have in mind for one of my latest handspun named heaven:

FotorCreated2Yep, the BlueSand Cardigan from La Maison Rililie! I paired my blue and purple handspun with 2 solid shades of gray in Cascade Heritage yarn. The pattern usually calls for DK weight but the yarn I chose is actually fingering weight, so I’ll use a modified gauge and simply follow instructions for one size up what I actually want. I’m so thrilled about this project!

Now that I shared my idea with you, I really want do know what you, wonderful spinners out there, generally use your handspun for! Do you spin with a specific project in mind or are you like me and you spin something and let it sit for a while until you find the perfect project for it? Please leave a comment below and let me know 🙂

The Spinning Mojo

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Since I have finished most of my current knitting projects now and didn’t quite feel like starting another big one, I decided last weekend to dust my poor little spinning wheel and give it some love. I have had the same project on it since March, and it wasn’t even because it was a LONG project (just a 4 oz merino roving) but truth is, I just didn’t feel like it (maybe I lost my spinning mojo?).  Either way, I wanted to get my rusty articulations back into shape because the Tour de Fleece is coming very quicky (start off is on july 4th) and I signed up to participate with the girls of Papote et Placote.

So I decided it was time to finish that project and take it off the wheel, so I took my little kiwi for a spin. The yarn I got out of it is a very fine fractal, 2 ply, lace to light fingering weight yarn with a generous 575 yards for 104 grams. I used the left over singles to spin a 3 ply navajo fingering weight yarn, it is 61 yards (14 grams) of pure cuteness. Yummy!

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The fiber I used was Malabrigo Nube in the color Zarzamora, it’s a beautiful mix of purple and green and blue.

Any of you guys participating in the upcoming Tour de Fleece?

Busy like a bee!

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The Tour de Fleece is almost over, and although I could not entirely reach all my goals, I’m pretty satisfied by the overall progress I made during the Tour. I spun about 20 ounces of fiber, making total of 6 skeins of yarn ( – ok, 5 if we don’t count the one I made the day before the Tour started – yea, you can call me a cheater 😉 ). It was a very pink Tour for me, but I’m happy with it since I didn’t have a lot of pink, salmon or coral yarn in my stash, so I feel it’ll be a good addition.

 

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My original goals were to :

1) Spin finer and more consistent singles

I can say for sure that I totally achieved that first goal, since I am now able to spin yarn about fingering size. Yay! My singles are getting finer and finer, and more and more consistent, and I like it! I think I’m still over-spinning sometimes, but I’m half doing it on purpose, since I like knitting with a yarn that has a good consistent twist.

2) Learn Navajo plying

I made a few attempts at navajo plying – they were not all successful. But even if the results are not perfect, I think I’m slowly beginning to learn how to do it. My arms are starting to remember the motions, and I’m slowly making progress. I spun very little yarn using the navajo ply – less than 100 yards of it – because I still have to go at it really really slow to not mess it up. But so far, I’ve noticed that – contrarily to a 2 ply yarn – it works a lot better with very low twist singles. I guess that makes it a partially achieved goad, so it’s not so bad!

3) Learn how to spin cotton

Spinning cotton is HARD!!! I tried… I really did. But the staple is so short, and it requires so much spin that it’s all really hard to control. I think I’ll have to get a lot more practice before I can actually make yarn out of cotton, for sure. I’ll just keep practicing, and maybe it’ll become a goal again for next year. Wish me luck!

Next on the list for me : I’ll use one of those scrumptious handspun skeins I worked so hard to make! Ok, I admit – I still have 2 ounces of blue and 2 ounces of yellow to spin, but I plan on using those with my No, I’m not Swedish handspun yarn to make this really nice chevrons cowl by Star Athena. I think the colors are just perfect for it, and I am so excited to cast it on!

After that (or not – because sometimes, I get very excited and end up starting too many projects at once :P), I also have another fun sweater idea that I’ll try to put on paper. What I have in mind is a lacy-back, short sleeve sweater in a lace weight yarn, featuring the basic english mesh lace I used on this scarf. I’m thinking of using my yellow Toil and Trouble Merino Silk Lace and mix it with the gray alpaca lace yarn I have in stash. What do you think of this combination?

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On the menu for the next few months, I think I’ll also order some more of the green variegated Ashland Bay Merino/Silk fiber I used to spin my Delmar yarn. I really loved spinning this fiber, and it is just so soft it makes me want to wrap myself in it. So my plan is to order 8 or 12 more ounces of it to make about 800 to 1000 yards of scrumptious, sweater-worthy yarn. I’m so excited!

As you can see, I’m keeping myself pretty busy Crafties, and I hope you are too! Show me some of your current projects, I’d be really glad to see what other creative crafters are up to.

Until then, enjoy your craft time 🙂