Knitting, painting and other summer things
Except for a couple rainy days here and there, the weather here this summer has been just wonderful; warm and sunny during the day and usually pretty cool at night. I have been taking advantage of the great weather to go for walks and enjoy the outdoors, but it hasn’t prevented me from making quite a bit of progress on other more “indoorsy” projects that I have been working on recently.
First off, I want to show you guys the Lissome cowl I just finished using a handspun I made just about 5 years ago during the tour de fleece. It’s a 100% merino salmon pink-ish barber pole yarn in a sports-ish weight. At first I really wasn’t sure how this was going to knit up, but I think it turned out beautiful on this gorgeously well structured cowl.
Susan Pandorf is a genius for having designed such a wonderful pattern! It is simple, yet impressively well thought and well written. The first 4 rows were a bit counter-intuitive for me so I had to pay more attention working those, but once I got used to it, this cowl just knits up like a breeze! The texture is absolutely amazing and the finished cowl is delicate enough yet not too lacy – a great balance!
I used all but two yards of the two skeins I had, and was able to work up 14 repeats of the main body. The finished cowl was blocked at about 10” high and 25” long folded, so 50” circumference in total. As usual, all the details can be found on my project page so you can go check it out there.
While this cowl was under construction, I was also lucky enough to have a little photo session with the lovely Emily from Cyclopes photographie. See, I needed a professional portrait done and she does stock photography, so we agreed on an exchange – she would do my portrait for free if I agreed to be used as a model for some stock images. Now I have a lot of hobbies so I had a fun time trying to decide which one I wanted to feature for the stock pictures, but I opted for spinning, knitting and yoga.
As you can see, the pictures turned out simply amazing, I just have no words.
And in other news, I also spent some time last weekend painting an accent wall in my dining room. It took a little bit longer than I expected, but as you can see it was well worth every minute!
That’s all for now folks, wish you all a great week 🙂
Tour de fleece-ing (ish)
As many spinners do every year in July, last month I bust out my spinning wheel to spin along the cyclists of the Tour de France, which was held July 6-28th. I gotta say that with the move and everything that’s going on in my life right now, I didn’t set any expectations to put out a good production, I was really just looking forward to spending a bit of time on a different activity for a little while, no pressure. And I’m happy to report that I did just that!
I set out the spinning wheel in the living room and putted at it every few days while watching the new season of Queer eye. Bliss!
All in all, I was able to spin about 5-ish oz. I spun (and plied) a Manos del Uruguay pink and purple 100g merino roving into a cute chain plied sport weight yarn, very soft and springy.
I also started spinning a green 4 oz merino-silk roving from Ashland Bay, But since I’m only about a quarter of the way through I decided to keep the spinning wheel out and I’ll keep on working on it here and there throughout the summer, and hopefully have another handspun to show you this fall.
To stay in the spinning spirit, I also started working on a cowl using my Flamboyant Flamingo handspun yarn, made during the tour de fleece a good 5 years ago. I wasn’t sure at first how it was going to turn out since the yarn is a 2-ply barber pole and quite think and thin since I still was pretty new to spinning, but it’s actually turning out pretty well with the structure of this wonderful cowl pattern. I will give a more through review of the Lissome pattern once I’m done, but let’s just say that I am really (REALLY) loving this design from Susan Pandorf.
Well, spring hasn’t really been springing lately, what with all the snow and cold weather and everything, but hey! I’ve been keeping my spirits up by knitting up a shawl out of one of my favorite hanspuns!
I used the free Bosc Pear pattern from Tetiana Otruta, it’s simple and fairly straightforward, didn’t do any mods whatsoever apart from repeating the main body section once more than the pattern called for, since I had extra yarn. I used all but 4 grams of the skein, and I’m quite happy at how it turned out! As usual all the details can be found on my project page, so feel free to take a look there 🙂
How’s YOUR spring you guys, any better than mine?
In retrospect, 2017 has been a very, very full year. Although especially challenging in many ways, I feel like I grew as a person throughout. I started the year in a funk fighting off a heavy case of knitting blues, then experienced the loss of my maternal grandfather, hustled through a crazy busy spring and summer at work, spent fall trying to catch up on things and topped off the year with the loss of my paternal grandfather less than 3 weeks before Christmas.
Among those hardships though, I was also blessed enough to experience beautiful moments of happiness with my loved ones and alone as I traveled to Washington DC and Hawaii, celebrated the birth of my best friend’s 2nd son, attended the wedding of a couple charming friends and spent a lot of time with friends and family.
Needless to say, this all had a significant impact on both, crafting and blogging since I had barely any time to catch a breath all year. In 2017, I was only able to complete 7 projects, for a total of 5481 yards of yarn.
I can tell you that it is by far the least productive year I’ve had since 2013 but all is well, since 2018 already seems more promising (hopefully!). As the new year rolls around, I just finished spinning a 50% Merino / 50% Tencel fingering yarn I’ve been working on since July 2016 (!!!!!!), and also finished set of placemats I was supposed to give away for Christmas (oops?), and I’m quite happy at how they turned out.
So now, let’s wish for 2018 to be full of hope and love and dreams and fibery goodness.
Texture, oh texture!
Things have been a little hectic lately for many reasons; namely here various knits in progress, tour de fleece and a week-long vacation 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.
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?
Enough about me now, how’s been your summer so far yarnies?
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.
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 🙂
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!
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.
Back on track
This fall has been insanely busy for me, and things are just now starting to get back to normal – which means that I finally get to do things that I have not been able to do in a while, yay! Among other things, I finally took time to ply the singles I spun during the Tour de Fleece this summer (I know… that was months ago!).
Although I did have my doubts while spinning it, I must say that I feel pretty satisfied with the finished product, which is quite a relief. The larger skein is a generous 597 yards of heavy lace 2 ply yarn and the other, small skein is 6 grams of leftover navajo plied in a fingering weight yarn. I am not too too sure what I’ll be doing with this yarn, but I do have a few options. Chances are, it will probably end up as a shawl in a (relatively) near future. 🙂
In other news, I also visited the Vermont Sheep and Wool festival this weekend, and had a blast! The colors are now in full swing and the drive to Tumbridge was amazingly beautiful. We stayed for a few hours on Saturday afternoon, walked around the vendor stands, watched a sheep shearing demonstration and petted a few adorable Border Collies who were there to show their sheep herding skills. We had a lot of fun, and (obviously) I came back with a few additions to my stash. 🙂
In the picture below, you’ll see an A-MA-ZING pink Suri/Silk batt from Biltmore Wool Barn (Brewster, MA), a soft-as-a-cloud blue Merino/Tencel roving from Fiber Stash (Colchester, VT) and the cutest sock kit I have ever seen – the Tallulah sock pattern from Sivia Harding, complete with handpainted fingering weight yarn and matching beads! I fell head over heels when I saw this one, I simply couldn’t resist!
Since I missed the Twist Festival this year and definitely won’t be able to make it to Rhinebeck, that’s as good as it gets for me this year, but I’m fine with it. What about you guys? Which wooly festivals have you been to or do you plan to go to this year?
Tour de Fleece 2015 and stuff
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:
I 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:
Yep, 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 🙂