Tuesday, September 30, 2014

WIP Wednesday/Stashdown

Still nothing to report on my Mystic Star/stashdown project this week.  I'm racing along trying to finish up a whole bunch of things for the photo shoots I've got scheduled for publication things.

This week, tho, I finished knitting sleeve #2 for one of the Legendary Knits sweater.  I just need to sew that into the armhole and that sweater is done.  I have all but about a third of sleeve #2 done on the final garment for Legendary Knits as well.  That's on the fast-track list to get finished up this week so I can block it.  For the remaining two projects, I am about a third of the way done one accessory, and need to cast on (which I'll do when that first accessory is complete) for the final accessory project.  So right now, the talley there is:

1 garment done; 2 in the final stages.
3 shawls completed of various sizes
1 accessory one-third done
1 accessory not started

I still need to work on the Malabrigo project and one shawl for a different shoot also at the end of October.  Both of those are OTN at this point - I just gotta knit them!

And in the dye studio, I'm working away at two large wholesale orders plus getting ready for the Boerne, Texas, show in early November!  Whew!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WIP Wednesday/Stashbusting.

Still not a dern thing to mention as far as personal/stashdown knitting this week.

On the other hand, I've got 2 inches left to finish the body of sweater #2 for Legendary Knits v3, and then it'll be onward to the sleeves.  I have knit about half of the final sleeve for sweater #1.  I've been kind of saving that for this weekend to knit in the booth at the Heart of NM Fiber Gathering, as it's just stockinette and easy to put down and pick up.

Most of my spare time this week has been spent in the dye studio, working on refilling bins for the show this weekend, and the big Simply Sock Yarn order.  I'm still hoping to clear a lot of that off my plate and have time for a lot of spinning in October!

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Spinning Friday kind of flew by me, so that should likely give you an idea about the rest of my busy weekend. Lots of time in the dye room, and a full day yesterday with my trunk show at Yarn and Coffee in Santa Fe.

So in lieu of not much else, I thought I'd give you Spinning Friday today, albeit a bit late.

I got this 4-oz braid of Finn in a swap, although it's been quite a while back.  The colors are great - super saturated and looked fun, so I hauled this out of stash to spin.

I'm not sure if this braid had some issues before it came to me or not, but it was....odd.  There were parts of it that were a bit felted, but it also didn't really spin up like any Finn I've worked with before. (And I generally really enjoy spinning that breed's wool.)  The parts that were not felted spun up wonderfully, but there were sections with very coarse hairs (you can kind of see them poking out in parts of the roving picture, above), and some very short hairs - almost like the main parts of the fleece were blended with shorter hairs off the legs of the sheep.

At any rate, this was not exactly the relaxed spin I thought it was going to be, and it wound up being one of those spins with sections of nicely spun singles interspersed with little blobs where the coarser/shorter fibers kind of stuttered into the single.

Technical Specs:
Fiber:  4 oz of Finnish top  (I had a 3.5 oz skein when I was done plying as I had some bits that were felted enough I had to just pull them off and discard them).
Ply: 2 ply.
Weight: Bulky.
Yardage:  145 yards.

I'm still enamored of the colors, but I'm not entirely sure what I'll do with this skein - it's a lot bulkier than I would normally knit with.  Maybe a slightly fulled hat or some mittens?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

WIP Wednesday/Stashdown

I have nothing to report on the personal stashdown knitting.  I've been focused on some deadline knitting for various things again, so that's been what I've done with my knitting time this week.

I'm down to just a sleeve left to knit on one sweater for Legendary Knits v3 and I've got my Malabrigo project sample half done.  My goal for the week is to finish the sweater sample up, and then get to work on the pattern grading so that can go off to my TE.  I need to get the remaining projects for Legendary Knits v3 on the needles in quick order.  I decided I actually was kind of garment-heavy for this group, so I've morphed one of the sweaters into a smaller/easier accessory.  So that leaves me with one sweater and then the 2 accessory patterns left to knit. Two of the remaining 3 accessories (which are all in the shawl/scarf category) are done and the third one is started, and then I also have a vest pattern in this group, and that's in the home stretch, with just bands to be finished up - both by two of my trusty sample knitters!

I have a trunk show at Yarn and Coffee in Santa Fe on Saturday, so I am thinking I'll take the sweater's second sleeve with me to work on. It's straightforward enough I can be interrupted while working on it, and then I can switch my focus to working on more complex/charted things here at home for the remainder of the week.  (And work on dyeing for the next fiber show which is the 27th/28th, and start to tackle the 300-skein order I need to get crackin' on for Simple Sock Yarn Company!)


I had planned to have a fairly quiet weekend since this is my only weekend in September that I'm at home, but we were super busy at my DayJob, to the point that administration put some incentive pay in place, which I decided to take advantage of. I worked a full shift on Thursday, and then a couple of hours on Friday and a couple of hours on Saturday, and here it is Sunday and time to work my normal shift to start the week!

In between those work hours, I cleaned up my studio post-dyeing frenzy from Salida, and got to work on filling my display baskets for the trunk show at Yarn and Coffee in Santa Fe this upcoming weekend (and starting refilling the travel bins to take to the Heart of NM show the following weekend), as well as working on the last Heroines small shawl kits for this year, which go out at the end of this month.

I did do a bit of knitting on a couple of Sekret Knitting projects and I did allow myself a couple hours of fun time for spinning.

I also pulled some fiber out for Spinzilla.  I wanted to at least pull some tentative fiber choices together so I'd have time to do any prep beforehand.

These are (from top left-hand corner, clockwise):  Butterfly Girl batt (SW merino, silk and glitter), Urban Gypz Corriedale, Two If By Hand Falkland, Bride Flight Studio alpaca/merino/silk, and FatCatKnits BFL.  I tried for a mixture of some plain wool and some luxury blend, and various color families.  I'm going to try to get through at least the first four at a minimum, but we'll see how my time goes that week once we get there.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Spinning Friday: Moonbeams Diamonds and Pearls

I've got a really pretty little spin to share with you this week - delving deep into the stash to grab 2.2 ounces of perfectly blended and carded "Moonbeams" from a club I was in several years ago.

These were hand-carded rovings from Moonwood Farms, consisting of alpaca, milk fiber, tencel, bamboo and just a hint of angelina.  They spun up absolutely perfectly.  (Honestly if every prep was this nice, more people would be handspinners!)

I spun up a bobbin of singles and then wound that off into a center pull ball, and plied from the inside and outside ends of that.

Technical Specs:
Fiber:  2.2 oz of a luxury blend of alpaca, milk fiber, tencel, bamboo and angelina from Moonwood Farm.
Ply: 2 ply.
Weight:  Laceweight.
Yardage: 311 yards.

I have enough of this plied, I think, for a pretty lace cowl or scarf.  While the milky white color of this is really pretty, I'm torn - I think I might wear it more if it were another color.  I'm pretty pale and have a lot of "natural highlights" that are white in my hair, so I tend to avoid white or off-white since I really don't need more of that next to my face!  I'm not sure how it will dye, tho, and this is all I have of it, so I'm hesitant to just toss it in a dye pot.  It's also got some non-typical fibers in it and I'm not sure how all of those will take dye.  I'd hate for it to come out weirdly blotched.

So.... I will likely stash it for a bit to think about it and decide if I'll just put it up for sale, or keep it for myself.  It's lovely and drapey and SO SO soft.  A very enjoyable spin.

In other spinning tidbits, I think I've pulled together the fiber I'd like to spin for Spinzilla.  I'm trying not to bite off more than I can chew for that week, but I do want to try to get as much spun as I can and put some focused spinning time in that week.  I've decided on a several long-in-the-stash fibers, as well as a couple of slightly newer stash.   I'm trying to get a mix of fiber bases and preps, and different indie dyers, to try to keep myself motivated and interested during Spinzilla week.  More on those fibers in the next couple of weeks!  I've gotten signed up for the Spin-Off team again this year, and I'm really looking forward to it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

WIP Wednesday/Stasbusting

First off, let's have a big WOO and HOO to the fact that I am DONE all the little details on my samples for The Book.  I have all the buttons sew on, things block, labelled, packed and ready to head off to Interweave's offices Thursday a.m., and I have already sent my final draft documents to my editor.  This makes me VERY happy!

I did do a bit of personal knitting this week - let's start there.  I worked a few rounds on my Mystic Star shawl.  I also took my striped handspun socks with me to Salida to work on in the booth, and I knit on those in the car coming home Sunday p.m., and managed to get those completely finished up.

I'm going to be sending these off to the Mittens for Akkol group as part of their 2014 sock drive.  (I've got 2 other pairs done and ready to go.  Not sure I will get another pair knit before the November shipping date deadline, but at least these are finished).

In Sekret Knitting projects, now that I'm done The Book things, I'm shifting my focus to shop-themed designing for a bit, so I'm looking at finishing up three sweaters and a hat for Legendary Knits v3 in order to get that photo shoot done sooner rather than later.  I've got the first sweater started, have the right front and back done, and need to finish up the left front from the armhole up to the shoulders, and then knit the 2 sleeves.  That's my focus for the upcoming week for most of my knitting time.  I need to also get a small project done for Malabrigo, and then I can think about maybe casting on for the hat to get that off my plate, but we'll see how much actual knit-time I've got this week since I'm back to the dye room with a bunch of custom dye orders and prep for a trunk show in Santa Fe on the 20th, and the next fiber festival (in ABQ) on the 27th!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Spinning Friday: The early edition - FatCatKnits and Four Rivers Polwarth

Bringing you this week's Spinning Friday a wee bit early since I've got a vendor's booth to set up in Salida!

In my ongoing stashdown quest, I pulled out two braids of Polwarth to do as a combo spin.  Each braid weighed 4 oz, and had similar, although not completely matchy-matchy colors.

The Four Rivers colorway is in the lower left-hand corner (unnamed color) and the FatCatKnits colorway, Sherwood Forest, is in the upper right.  While they really do look very similar all braided up, the Four Rivers braid had a lot more terracotta and cinnamon brown in it when I actually got to the spinning.

I split each braid in half, and then I split each of those halves into random width, thinner strips of fiber to help break up and mix up the colorways in the final skeins.  I spun each colorway individually into singles (this is Sherwood Forest).

And then, once I had the singles completed, I plied the colorways together.  I wound up with 600 yards of sportweight total.

I love how there are little pops of the bright blues from both colorways all mingled together with the more earthy-tones in the rest of the skeins.

Technical Specs:
Fiber:  4 oz of Polwarth in "Sherwood Forest" from FatCatKnits and 4 oz of Polwarth in unnamed colorway from Four Rivers Fiber.
Ply:  2-ply.
Weight:  Sport.
Yardage:  600 yards.

My grand plan for this.... at some point.... is to use this yardage as the main color for a sweater, with stripes of mostly-solid blue and green, and maybe a warm spice brown in there for contrast.  It'll marinate for a while in stash before I get there, but it felt good to run thru another 8 oz of fiber and turn it into usable yarn!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

WIP Wednesday/Stashbusting

Not much to report on the stashbusting front - I've been busy putting final skeins into bins to get ready for the Salida Fiber Festival in Colorado this weekend.

I did work a bit on my handspun stripey socks.  These will likely be my go-to project while vending since they are easy to pick up and put down.

I haven't touched Mystic Star, but I figured that one would get back-burner'ed since it's a more in-depth, attention-requiring knit.

I did get my sample finished for Twist Collective's Winter 2014 issue and that shipped off to the editors yesterday.  In current Sekret Knitting, I've got a lace shawl on the go, plus a sweater for Legendary Knits v3, and an accessory item for the Malabrigo Yarn company, due out later this fall.  Plenty to keep me busy on the drive to and from Salida, and any down-time I've got in the booth or at the hotel (which usually isn't much, but you never know!), but I'll also have the socks on hand since they are pretty mindless and I'd like to have them done this month.

If you are in the area, please stop by my booth and say hello this weekend!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pattern Release: Montmartre Scarf

I've got a new pattern release to share today, and I'll have copies of it and the yarn to make it with available at Salida this weekend.

This is the Montmartre Scarf.  Named after the famed cobblestone streets of this district in Paris, the scarf features a textured knit/purl stitch combination resembling those bumpy streets.

Each end of the scarf features garter stitch stripes interspersed with the knit/purl stitches.  The center of the scarf is knit with just the textured knit/purls.  This is a one-skein project, which I knit with Wooly Wonka Fibers Freya DK, in the "Hydrangea" colorway, which has 300 yards per skein.

It would also work as a great stashbusting project and a nice unisex present to go in your holiday gift-giving bin - it's never too early to think about knitting for the holidays!  Pick any lightweight DK or sportweight yarn that has a bit of a drape to it when blocked.

A big thank-you to my photographer, Dilshani Tyson, and my model, Ellen.  You can tell we had fun with this shoot; Ellen's got a great smile!

Tour de Fleece - Week 2

I'm pretty happy with my progress for the Tour so far this year!  I've been trying to have a goal of 15 minutes of spinning a day, o...