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When I don’t Knit

It has been a few days since I even last picked up my needles, even then all I managed was a row before the ache set in. Saturday evening found myself in the midst of watching a couple of movies with the Giant and my dear friend. I was struck once again by how often I really did knit. As we sat watching the movies I felt myself becoming anxious my hands were itchy to do something while my mind was occupied. I pulled out a hand spun hat I have been working on for quite a while now and attempted a row. I barely made it around before the ache set in and I had to place the project aside.

Since I have not been able to knit nearly as much as I would like and so I have been forced to figure out other things to do with my time. The most recent has been reading. I had picked up the first book in the Game of Thrones series back at the end of July and had been reading it on and off for a few weeks making pretty decent progress the more my hands hurt. I managed to finish it already and have started on the second one. No, I haven’t seen the television show although I want to, but I picked up the book more out of a desire to have something pretty thick to sink my teeth into. Growing up I always read. I can remember having multiple books on the go, kind of like how I now keep multiple projects on the go. I would have my easy comfort reading (often something I had read before) which is like how you have a pair of socks going as almost background, something easy light and just enough to keep you busy. I would also have my short reads, which are like those quick projects you knit up for the near instant gratification of having something come off the needles. I had books where you had to have darn near complete silence, like a complicated lace pattern or color-work, and books where it was fun and interesting and seemed to be going great until the next thing you knew you were almost done, just like a prefect project.

Do you ever have multiple books on the go? How about knitting projects?

Holiday Knitting

There are few things as demoralizing as having to rip back a nearly finished sock because of an error way too far back to fix. (I suppose having to rip back two socks might trump that, and in which case I consider myself lucky and should just move on, but we all know I won’t.) This is in addition to the fact that the sock in question is/was meant for the Giant. I can say that having some wine and good friends around does help, but marginally so when one takes into account the fact that I haven’t been able to knit nearly as much lately and so that sock felt even more hard-won than usual. Color me a little bitter.

There is still no word on the cause of the hand issues, although one big thing was ruled out (for now.) Any knitting or spinning has been moving at a glacial pace which is okay, but still frustrating. Reprieve came by way of an unrelated reason, in terms holiday knitting, the  list has shrunk considerably thanks to people opting out of exchanging gifts this year. There are still a few people I plan on knitting for this year which means it’s time to break down and actually see what I have in the stash that would be usable for gifts. As far as I can tell from a cursory look there shouldn’t be a reason to go out and purchase anymore yarn which is good, because I really would like to start using up some of the stash.

Normally around this time I could be found gearing up for (or already in the middle of) holiday projects, but that is also when the list was quite a bit longer.

So far the plan is as follows:

1. Pair of socks for the Giant

2. Pair of socks for MIL

3.Bearded hats for the niece and nephews (4)

4. Dino hat for nephew (1)

5. Some type of hat  for niece (1)

No idea if I will actually be able to accomplish it all this year, between health issues and work there seems to be little time for actual knitting, or even a solid will to knit. This lack of desire has left me feeling rather odd; not quite like myself even. As someone who turns to knitting as way to de-stress and engage my introverted-ness I have felt something serious lacking. Which brings me to my next pointing serious  apologies for the lack of posts, content seems to be running thin and I sometimes wonder if it is better to not post as opposed to posting about nothing in particular. Thoughts?

Thanks and welcome to all the newest followers, I appreciate you taking the time to check out this little corner of the internet.

Blocked Writing

I had a professor who liked to say that there is no such thing as Writer’s block. They elaborated by stating that what we consider writer’s block is some combination of boredom, distraction, or a lack of actually trying. Essentially stating that writer’s block is an excuse. The first time I heard that, I will freely admit that I went from utter joy (believing that the secret to unleashing my creativity in written form was about to be discovered) to a little bit of annoyance (at the simple thought that they were telling me, and all the other students that we were sucking at the whole writing thing) to finally understanding what they meant (at least as far as I can tell.)

I can’t say I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that there is absolutely no such thing as being blocked when it comes to writing, but at the same time it is a little freeing to think that the whole writer’s block is just an excuse. If you are only using writer’s block like an excuse, then, in theory you can over come it, right? As an aspiring writer, who has fallen down the rabbit whole of being blocked I can say that (when not in the moment of sheer frustration because you can’t seem to come up with a single idea for this story) it makes sense. If I am not liking the way my writing is going, because I have either written myself into a corner or (as is more often than not the case for me) when I feel like my writing is utter crap and never going to get published anyway(despite the fact that it is only a first draft and in all actuality you don’t suck as badly as you think,) being able to have a reason for stopping writing can be mighty appealing.

I still say that I have writer’s block, in fact I did just the other day. I suppose in reality what I was trying to say is that I want an excuse for not actually blogging. That work and home had taken a lot of my time and the few hours I have in the evening not working was spent doing something other than thinking of things to blog about, or writing up posts. I wanted to be able to have some real and honest reason that I wasn’t living up to this goal I have for myself (of blogging twice a week.) If I can’t think of content then I can’t think of content and really should I be blamed for that?

What are your thoughts? Is Writer’s Block a real thing? Do you just see it as an excuse? Does your perspective change if you are in the midst of what you consider writer’s block, or after you seem to have broken through?

Let us know what you think in the comments. I look forward to hear from you.

Randomly on Wednesday

Despite my best efforts I seem to suffering from a serious case of writer’s-block and as such the blog has been..well it’s been about as barren as the Tundra in the middle of winter. Apologies for the long absences, the lack of actual knitting/spinning/crafting in general content has caused me to fly low under the radar, that and the fact that there seems to be some sort of lock on my ability to actually come up with anything that I think would interest any of you. I have been told that I can be a bit hard on myself (read critical) and so in an effort to make it up to you (and for a lack of better organization) I present to you all a random list for your Wednesday.

1) I currently have three pairs of socks on the needles, all in various stages of completion.

2) To the previously mentioned socks-in-progress only one has its mate and it is far and away the one I want to work on the least.

3) I also have a shawl, a cowl and a hat currently on the needles and although this doesn’t actually complete the list, they are the only ones that seem to be in the more immediate progress section

4) I say more immediate progress section because the reality is there has been little actual knitting going on over here.

5) Spinning has also become halted, I have yet to start a new braid of anything because I feel my hand spun stash (and well my commercial stash…well no really just my yarn stash in general) has expanded to the point where I need/want to knit some down.

6) This proves a problem because of the whole not knitting much thing.

7) The Giant and I have been working our way through the television show the West Wing lately and while I often lament that I didn’t have a chance to watch it when it was on, I am also realizing that I am understanding and appreciating the wit and brilliance of the writing a lot more as an adult.

8) The writing on that show makes me want to write stories like that. Not necessarily politically based or for a television, but something that grasps the fast-paced intelligence and humor that seems to so subtly creep up in almost every moment.

9) I have also found myself wishing that I would have studied more Political Science in college (I did minor in the subject at least.)

10) I really don’t have much else to say at this point (see lack of content comment above.)

11) Do you have anything you want me to talk about? (See lame attempt to help generate content :) )

 

Finally Something

It seems to have taken forever (okay more like a week and a half) to have something to share with you all. With the laptop being MIA (the giant swiped it for a work trip) to staying busy with work stuff it seems as though there has been little time for much blogging. Crafting on the other hand continued, although it has definitely hit a lag in speed. My latest and greatest piece to show off is my single contribution to TdF (Tour de Fleece for those playing along at home) while I wasn’t officially participating or anything, the amount of time it took me to finish this spin coincided pretty well with the dates of the Tour. The fiber was part of my latest acquisition, I managed to snag two braids from Dyebolical during her pre-Tour sale. 

I chose the Garden of Live Flowers colorway because I felt I needed something completely different than the blue merino that I was (and am) working on. Additionally our Lady Marja (a semi-regular here on the blog and part of the we love Horace fan club) ended picking up the Thunderboom colorway as well and I wanted to see what her’s looked like before I took the dive on mine. 

This braid (and the Thunderboom one) are 100% polwarth which is a first for me. I know that BFL will always hold a dear place in my heart (because why wouldn’t it) but this stuff is seriously hitting a close second for me. I was a little unsure of it in the beginning due in large part to my fear of it being too scratchy/too difficult to spin. Guys? This stuff is like buttah. I don’t know if it was just the awesomeness of Dyebolical Yarns (which I can not rave enough about) or if it is the magical properties of Polwarth, but this fiber produced probably the best skein I have ever made. Seriously. It’s soft and squishy and lovely and I just want to hug it and squish it and call it George..ahem. Anyway trust me when I say that this stuff was wonderful.

And if you don’t trust me just look at this.

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The yarn itself is seen here in it’s post washed state, and can I just say a good bath did wonders (so did a good thwack to distribute the twist) but the best part was the water came out clean. Yes, you read that right, clean as in there wasn’t extra dye to get all over my hands (or my sink.) 

Want another photo of the lovely skein? Of course you do.

 

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This one you can see the edge of some Tabby cat toes, one of them decided they just had to take a nap on my desk and no matter how many times I attempted to move him out of the way I couldn’t manage a decent shot. So let’s pretend this was just for scale and reference…yeah see that totally works. 

Anyway I ended spinning part of this on a drop spindle (I can’t recall if it was Marja’s or mine…let’s be honest if the Bosworth was anywhere near me I probably spun it on that) mainly it was just the first section of green and then the rest was done up on my little Prelude, Beatrice. It’s been a while since I took her out and all and since she is still mine for the foreseeable future I figured why not. I debated chain plying this but in the end due to the color combo and the simple fact that the braid ended up being split pretty evenly in half, I thought why not and went for a 2 ply. 

Yardage clocks in at just around 310 yards which is by far the best for 4 ounces that I have had in awhile (possibly ever.)

I am debating about turning it into a nice squish cowl, a little shawl, a hat and mitten combo or leaving it as is and using it as a threat for any fiber that attempts to give me grief (I am looking at you blue merino, you bet your subtle hue changes I am.)

 

 

Question for the Audience

Sorry for the absence. My laptop is Mia for the time being which means that to type I am relegated to my phone, which sucks. Rest assured I have not disappeared completely.

I request your patience in the mean time.

For now a question for you all. Are you participating in tour de fleece, if so what has been your greatest challenge so far? If you aren’t, any reason why not? For those that don’t spin would you participate in something like this for your respective craft, why or why not?

Let us know in the comments.

Until next time dear readers.

To the wayside

It would seem that my attempts at blogging keeping getting flung to the wayside, abandoned with posts only half finished and pictures not taken. I realize that summer is a busy time for a lot of people and it would seem that I have fallen in with that as well. It has felt as though every night the past few weeks has been booked, whether it is visiting relatives or unpacking boxes, moments of simple relaxation seem harder and harder to come by.

This has led to my reserves being depleted. I like to think that for every so many hours I get to spend alone and recharge factor out to how long I can keep up social interactions. And with less and less time for alone time, I find myself staying up later and later (despite having to get up at the same time every morning for work.) A desperation for some time to claim as my own. The result means I am tired during the day which seems to drain my “batteries” quicker which leads to the desire for more alone time and thus staying up too late. A terrible cycle to be sure. Unfortunately there seems little chance of breaking free for a little while longer. There was a chance to carve out time Sunday, but it was not enough by a long shot.

What did I do on my brief recharge time? Well of course we are still in the thick of Tour De Fleece and so as an attempt to show some solidarity (realistically it was just because I wanted to spin up the newest fiber acquisitions.) I worked on this:

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The first two ounces of one of my Dyeabolic braids. This little beauty is The Garden of Live Flowers colorway in 100% polwarth and it is just about as beautiful to spin up as it looks.

In terms of what to do with the other half and the whole mess together. I have been thinking either a chain ply of the whole thing, or to try to just mash it all together. (although I am open to other ideas)

1) Chain plying means less yardage which always sucks

2) Mashing it together means I don’t get (or at least won’t likely) get as good of a color preservation.

Those are my main points against the two different ones. Reverse them and you get my pros for the other one. Essentially I mean this:

1) Chain plying means color preservation

2) Mashing means an increase in yardage.

So dear readers, what are your thoughts on the matter?

 

Preparedness

If you may recall in my last post I mentioned I received some lovely  hand spun yarn from one of my knit night friends. Well what I didn’t mention is that it took me all of one day before I cast the thing on (and mind you there was sleeping and work for most of that.) I had it in my mind as soon I felt the yarn that a cowl was in order.

To be fair, I had been persuaded to the ways of the cowl by another knit night friend. She had recently finished a lovely hand spun creation and was willing to let us fondle it a bit. I scoured Ravelry for a little while (the night I received the yarn) trying to find the right pattern, but unfortunately I was unable to find exactly what I wanted. So like  someone with money burning a hole in my pocket I decided to just cast on and begin knitting. I stuck with a simple two by two rib and went until I was out. The result? A lovely squishy wonderful cowl. Perfect for a cool autumn day.

So here you go:

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The post blocked product, the colors are showing a bit more blue in this photo, when in fact it is a lovely shade of green. You can see a bit better in the photo below, not just in terms of colors, but also in terms of squishiness.

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This cowl is all I could have hoped for and more in terms of a warm and snuggly thing. Of course it isn’t much help when we are in the upper 80’s to mid 90’s. Well I suppose there is nothing wrong with being prepared.

Make with the grabby hands

This past week has been a haze of firework smoke and attempting to unpack the seemingly endless supply of boxes. Add into the mix the fact that I seem to have caught some summer bug that is making its way through my work place and you end up with a little less than stellar 3-day weekend. The fireworks have thankfully calmed down, although we still hear the occasional one in the evening. It’s still better than the past two weeks leading up to the Holiday.

Luckily despite my sick-filled brain I can still share some rather wonderful highlights. This past weekend started with a rather fun lead up on Wednesday night at knit group. This week, the always lovely, Marja kicked off the evening by letting me borrow her Bosworth drop spindle. ( My desire to own of my own grows each time I get to have my hot little hands on it.)

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Side note, she was willing to let me borrow but any attempts to subtly (or not) keep the spindle were thwarted. That Marja is nothing if not quick. Luckily her sweetness continued as she passed a bag containing some of her wonderful hand spun, and let me just say that Marja produces some really lovely hand spun, but the fun didn’t stop there. No, because you see my dear readers, Marja is a rather rare breed, she is a spinner, with no and included. What this means, and the weaker among you might want to sit down, is that this past week, Marja brought her bag of lovelies not just as a show and tell but she also said we could take some of the yarn for our very own. Cut to me, making with the grabby hands (this is that instinctual gesture that we all seem to make when we are three and want something for our very own.) I managed to restrain myself to only two skeins.  A lovely green merino and a beautiful BFL. To clarify this loveliness was met with a promise from me (and others) to knit something for the wonderful lady, lest you think I am completely selfish.

 

P.S. This is all in addition to a wonderful skein of BFL I was given the week before from her.

 

P.P.S. No you may not have Marja’s contact information.

Distraction 2: Stash Enhancement

For my next trick I would like you all to direct your attention to the center ring. The dazzling, the beautiful. See how the light dances among the fibers, watch as the colors blend into one another. I present to you the newest acquisitions to the Introverted Knitter’s Stash. First up the lovely and talented, Thunderboom colorway, a beautiful 100% Polwarth wool, comprised of various shades of blue, teal, gray, and greens. It invokes the senses of a spring shower, the lovely thunderstorms that beckon forth the oncoming growth after a long winter.

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Not to be outdone we have another beautiful specimen a combination of greens, pinks, purples and lovely deep browns. Remember how I mentioned that oncoming growth after winter? Well this lovely and wonderful 100% Polwarth  is just the ticket. May I present the Garden of Live Flowers.

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Both of these lovelies come courtesy of the new to me, Dyebolical. I have a few friends who simply rave about her stuff and so I decided to take a chance and try these two out. The question now is just how long can I hold out before abandoning everything else on my fiber plate?

 

 

“Itteh Bitteh” Kitteh Commiteh of….2 er 3

It would appear that there a few key differences when moving into a house as opposed to another apartment. The biggest one so far? The sheer amount of space. We have such a drastic difference in space available to us that our main difficulty in unpacking (not that we are in a crazy big hurry anyway) is trying to figure out where it goes. So many options and that my friends is a real first for the Giant and I.

To be fair our new space has shrunk by just a little bit thanks to our newest addition. The Giant and I have always said (well it was more me saying and him being willing to go along with it) when we had a house we would rescue another little ball of fluff, and that is exactly what we did this past weekend. There was some debate as to the one to bring home (because the Giant wisely limited me to just one) but after meeting about 5 cats total we finally settled on the newest addition to our family.

Meet Toby.

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He is a 3 year old brown and white tabby and a big enough guy he can hold his own with our two other cats. He is a snuggler with a preference for headbutts. We brought him home on Friday and so far things are going well. He and the other cats are still getting to know one another but we are feeling good about their compatibility.

Feel free to say hello to Toby and in no way should you think that the pictures of him are a way to distract you from the fact that I have absolutely nothing in terms of knitting/spinning/writing or anything else to show you.

Look another photo of Toby!

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Blogus-interruptus

We apologize for any inconvenience but the blog may experience some slight delays, reductions and general lack of posting for the next little bit. Rest assured the problem is acknowledged and is being addressed.

To be fair there is a pretty fabulous reason:

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The Giant and I are officially home owners!

So how was your weekend?

To keep the chill out

So I have said in recent posts that I have finally started knitting with my hand spun and I have yet another semi-FO to show you. This time a simple hat.

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I used the Thorpe pattern and my first Hanks of the Hood batt from March. The shifting of the colors proved to be a little tricky and I had to manually mess with them in order to hit all the colors. The ends are not woven in yet nor has it been blocked, in part because I need some help from you my dear readers. I am debating whether I should had some braids and tassels to the ear flaps and either a braided tassel or a pom to the top. So I am turning it over to you all.  Take a moment to comment on what you think.The fate of this wonderful hat rests in your hands, try to use the power for good will ya?

 

Stubborn

I have been told that I can be stubborn. I would like to think of it more as being determined. I like a good challenge and enjoy the satisfaction that comes with a hard win. Case in point.

I am currently working on spinning up some fiber and it is proving to be a bit difficult. My goal for this fiber is to not only spin thin, but also to spin soft. I have finally started knitting with my hand spun and have noticed that I seem to have a tendency to produce things akin to wire. This time it is going to be different. This time I am going to produce some lovely, soft and thin yarn.  I had manged the softer part a few times before and I knew I could do thin, so with my goal in mind I set to work.

The fiber is a braid a Malabrigo Nube and is composed of 100% merino. I purchased this (and another braid) from my LYS a while ago and decided that it was time to take it on. Thinking it would be a rather simple and straightforward project. Unfortunately it is fair to say that this fiber is kicking my butt.

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The first bobbin is seen here, looking so innocent, but in reality it is about as difficult as trying to get a teenager up early on a weekend.  My big issues seem to be not only having the fiber slip out of my hands (as merino likes to do with me) but I am also struggling to keep the consistency of the singles going. The thinness sometimes gets too thin and snaps, or I end up getting a bit too thick and the spin just gets absorbed into the slub.  I had heard a little bit about how this fiber is often compacted (which is definitely true in my case.)  Of course I heard of this after I bought the braids and after I started spinning this one up.  Another big thing for me is that I am still not used to spinning on Gertie (my Honeybee double treadle.) I get the concept of treadling slower, but the actual execution proves to be a bit out of reach.

I had recently brought the wheel (and the fiber) over to knit night, in an attempt to not only publicly shame the fiber into behaving, but also to seek help from those wiser in the fibery ways. They had great suggestions, such as lowering the tension (which is apparently a big problem for most spinners.) The ladies were encouraging and helpful even as they watched me struggle with the fiber. . After the fifteenth time of  having the fiber get away from me I ended up giving up for the rest of the evening, and instead just enjoying the company of people who get what it means to be kicked around by some wool. I am not afraid to say that there was a suggestion of possibly giving up on the unruly stuff and either ditching it completely or perhaps threatening it a bit by moving on to something else.

While these were and are great suggestions, the fact of the matter is I won’t be able to give it up. At least not yet. I am determined to finish this bobbin at the very least. After I got home that evening I started spinning again, making a point to not only treadle slower (at least that’s what I attempted to do) but also making sure my tension was a little looser, and things seemed to be going  a little better. Although I will admit I may have taken out some other fiber and placed it nearby, you know, just to show the fiber who’s boss around here.

Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival 2014

This past weekend the Giant, Horace and I bundled ourselves into our car and headed east in search of all things wooly. Our destination, the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival. Our goal(s) to see some sheep, to acquire some fiber, and lastly to have a good time. I can safely say mission accomplished.

Our escapades at the festival were a bit briefer than last year, but we still managed to see a lot. First we headed to the hall of breeds (well technically our first thing was to meet up with a friendly face, but more on that later.) Of course Horace was interested in seeing his brethren and so we wandered and viewed all the different kinds of sheep that were present. Unfortunately there were far fewer than last year, but we were early enough that I have to wonder if that was the reason. Despite that we still had fun. Clockwise from the top right side: These little sheep are known as baby-dolls and supposedly they get no bigger than this, and man were they ever adorable. Next we have a Rambouillet  sheep, the big guy (whose back side you see in this photo) had some truly magnificent horns, but alas he seemed to be a bit camera-shy.

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In the bottom left we have some sheep that I believe are Cormo (but I could be completely wrong) anyway they were a bit timid and eyed Horace with some skepticism. At the top left, we have Horace who wanted to take a break later in the morning. ( I love sheep and wool festivals, because this was one of those very few times that no one seemed to mind that I was taking photos of a stuffed sheep.)

I should note our grand adventure was not completed alone, along the way we met up with our lady Marja. You may remember her as a key member in Horace’s fan club. She and I walked around and while I would have had a fun time regardless, having a fellow fiber person present made the experience about fifty times better.

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Marja can be seen here testing out a lovely (and giant/heavy) spindle. The spindle is a thing of beauty let me tell you. Suffice it to say Horace had to check it out as well.

The one thing I do have to say about  Marja  is that she can be a wicked influence when it comes to purchases. That lady has a great eye for color and she helped me pick out some lovely fiber, although it was so out of my usual palette that I think even the Giant was a bit shocked (in a good way of course.)

Speaking of fiber there were a few purchases made this year (and I am sure you are all thinking, well duh…) I did make a point to try to branch out and only pick up fiber that was new to me, either in type or color. And guys? I manged to do pretty well.

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From the upper right corner (working clockwise again.) The first is not only a brightly colored 4 ounces, but it is Rambouillet.  Purchased  at the Fiber Curio and Sundries booth. They had a variety of lovelies available, but this caught my eye and just begged to come home with me.

The next one was a lovely (and discounted) Polwarth (another new to me breed) mash-up. The color is discontinued, and I bought it in part because it reminds me of a muppet. Purchased at the River’s Edge Fiber Arts booth.

The next was a little less of a departure, but gorgeous none the less; it is a lovely 4 ounces of merino and the photo is not doing the colors enough justice. I bought from this vendor, Snokist Farm Girl, last year and loved it so much that I knew it was going to be on my list. The biggest problem I faced was which color to choose. You know me I am a sucker for purple.

The top left, was the big one, my first purchase of the day, and a key factor in acquiring the other bright colors. (Major points go to Marja for not only finding this braid, but actually finding two and not keeping them both to herself.) This lovely, lovely braid is four ounces of bright and sparkly colors, in the, oh-so-dear-to-my-heart BFL. It took all I had not to snatch most of their colors in this stuff up. The vendor, Yarn Geek Fibers, has definitely made my list to watch.

My last fiber purchase to show you is one that I have been coveting for the last year. I saw the fiber at the last Iowa Sheep and Wool festival and while I debated (and waited too long to pick up last year) I was keeping a clear eye out for it this year. It came from River’s Edge Fiber Arts and I almost completely missed it. I had given up hope of  finding the vendor (thanks in small part to the fact that I left my list at home.) And so I felt doomed to wander around looking in vain. Nope, I purchased the muppet fiber and just happened to glance over and spied the little bin of the stuff. I could hardly believe my luck. The fiber? 2 ounces of 100% Rose. Yes you read that right, Roses. I believe it comes from the stems (and is dyed) but yeah Roses. The stuff is soft, oh so soft. Now for me this was a bit of a luxury purchase, but I figured after a year of wanting it, I knew I would enjoy it. If only I can convince myself to spin it up.

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Lastly, but definitely not least(ly),  I made one more purchase for the day.  I mentioned in my last post that I was looking for a new drop spindle and after surveying the various vendors, I came across one that just had to be mine. Meet the newest addition to our little spinning family.

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1.6 ounces of pure love. (The tiny ball of singles is from the car ride home, yeah I didn’t wait long to break it in, you can’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same. It’s the muppet yarn for those that might be wondering.)

So how was your weekend?

Dropped

The spinning continues here at the home of the Introverted Knitter, there seems to be something in the air,(Or more likely I can blame the lovely knit night crowd) which is fine by me. Last week at my knitting group I was able to test out a drop spindle under some very helpful guidance. The fiber was some so called “crap fiber” from a friend, actually the stuff I used to practice with my new(er) wheel. Anyway the spindle was not mine, but it was lovely. Sadly no photos of the endeavor, but it did inspire me to pick up the drop spindle I had bought last year at the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival. The spindle is just a basic beginner one, which works out perfect because that is pretty much what I am when it comes to this.

I did manage to spin a little bit, although consistency still eludes my grasp. Fortunately I have had a little less trouble with the dropping of the thing, which is exciting.

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The fiber is the last Hanks of the Hood batt I picked up from the Knit Picks cyber sale last year. And like the other two I am struggling to come to terms with the fact that the darn stuff won’t be smooth and consistent and nice like I want. Plus this one might have a little silk in it which is throwing me through a hula-hoop size loop. I have come to realize my fiber stash is growing a bit thin in terms of content, which also works out perfectly as the Giant and I will be heading out to the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival this coming weekend. (If you haven’t been and are in the area, definitely a fun festival to try out.)

The spindle proved just as interesting to one of the stash guardians in my home.

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The photos were snapped a bit before I headed to knit night this week. I noticed that after watching a couple of ladies and getting to dabble a little on one of their lovely spindles that better fiber and better tool might be in order…funny how that seems to work out, huh? Lucky for me I might have that chance.

So how is your knitting/spinning going?

 

 

Leftovers

When I spin there are times when I often end up with these random little bits of singles leftover. I know there are ways around of it, spinning from the same plying ball, chain plying, ect. Heck there are times when there might be enough left over to make a wee skein, which is always nice. The truth is that there are just going to be times, at least in my spinning career, when there are leftovers, and I am okay with that. I am okay with it because I always love combining a few random singles and seeing the results. Maybe it is the thrill of the unknown, or the fact that it will almost always be such a small amount that makes it seem almost special, whatever it might be I like it.

Case in point:

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This wee skein, a combo of some leftovers. The red from the first Hanks In the Hood I finished a few weeks ago and the gray/black combo from the Frabjous fibers I knocked out earlier in the year. photo 4 (3)It’s only about 20 yards of this brilliant burgundy-grayish color combo that I am in love with.

Which brings me to the downside of leftovers…when it’s really good, it often means there’s very little of it left.

 

 

What matters

I know that I promised to share a photo with you of the shawl that I finished over a week ago (yikes.) Sorry about that, but in my little bit of defense we have had a slew of cloudy days with some nasty weather sprinkled in between. All this meant I was attempting to figure out a good time to get some photos, which never really happened, so Sunday I decided to bite the bullet and attempted a photo.

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This isn’t the greatest, but here you go. You may notice that the ruffles remained, which I think looks pretty good. The shawl itself is a little small to be much protection, but it is a nice accessory piece that should provide warmth in a chilly air-conditioned office and act as nice scarf for Autumn and Winter.

It was interesting to me to knit with my hand spun, this yarn was definitely a bit on the over twisted side, and not nearly as soft of a wool as I am used to. A friend of mine has this wonderful habit of saying that ( and I am paraphrasing a bit) hand spun yarn isn’t meant to be look commercially made, the whole point is for it to have the uniqueness of being hand created. Which really helps bring it back into perspective, especially when your recently spun yarn looks a bit like something a cat may have hacked up on the carpet in the middle of the night, but maybe that is just me.

So while the shawl may not be the softest thing ever, it may have points where the thick and thin of the yarn produced a bit of a wonky fabric, hey might even be a little too small for some, I just try to remember that it was something I created on two different levels. Not only did I knit each and every stitch, but I also spun each and every yard, that shawl has a lot more of my time invested in it, and therefore it is a lot more special to me. And at the end of the day that’s what matters.

Terribly Simple and a terrible turn over rate

I started a shawl back in September 2013 (out of a desire to have a simple little scarf type covering to keep me warm on those chilly fall days.) Well here we are in June of 2014 and I finally finished it. To be fair I managed to finish it mostly in May 2014, with the binding off taking me over that threshold of midnight and thus into one more month, but more on that later.

The shawl was started based on the, Terribly Simple pattern. I say started because, well I had started knitting on it by following the pattern/recipe and yet, somewhere along the way I must have forgotten that little fact and just knit on the thing. Increasing with yo’s and switching to just at the beginning of every row and not at both ends. I don’t think it mattered, because in the end the shawl works. The intentional modification to it came at the end, when I ended up attempting to create some eyelet rows. I was just kind of winging it and decided to do a row of *k2,yo*, followed by a knit row, and then a repeat of the *k2,yo* before doing a simple ktbl bind off. And Bob’s your uncle…sort of.

Now I don’t think I mentioned in this post, but I was knitting the thing out of my hand spun, because I have a lot of it and I felt the need (back then and now) to actually use some of the stuff. I say this because, you all should know that this is one of those things where replacement/extra would be impossible to get (at least for me.) So trust me when I say that I seriously suck at measuring how much yarn I need to finish a row. Because that whole Bob’s your uncle bit from before? Yeah that was after I did another knit row before binding off and realized about 80 stitches from the end that I wasn’t going to have enough. So I tinked back (all of those stitches, and let me just say that there were a lot.) It ended up working although it cost me the chance to have the darn thing finished before the clock struck midnight and it therefore made the shawl to take a full 9 months to finish.

Which led me to realize my turn over rate for hand spun projects is pretty terrible, I know it’s not great, because this is only my fourth project using hand spun, and I have been at this whole spinning thing for over two years now. Somethings gotta change folks.

Okay, finally let’s get to some before photos of the shawl.

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The interesting thing to note here (aside from the crappy photos with the terrible shadows from the window, apologies for that) is that there is a bit of a ruffle along the bottom. As I mentioned above, I attempted to create a few eyelet rows to throw some interest in at the end, but as with most things that are done on the fly (at least for me) it turned out completely different. I don’t think it looks bad with the ruffles, which is a surprise because usually I am not big on anything too “fancy”.

photo 2 (3)These are the shawl in its pre-blocked state, a storm came in yesterday afternoon/evening and ruined any chance of capturing post blocked photos. So you will have to tune in next time to see this terribly simple shawl in all it’s glory.

 

Until then, how was your weekend?

 

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