Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WIP Wednesday: October 29, 2014

I have finished up all my current short-term deadline knitting!  It's been a LONG time since I was able to say that, but while I do have some design projects in the works, none of them are an immediate/red-alert kind of thing - woot!  Right now, I've got a small 4-piece collection in mind that I've cast on the first piece for.  I wanted to showcase my Freya DK yarn, which I love knitting with, so all the pieces will be from that and will include a sweater, a long scarf/wrap, a cowl and a pair of mitts.

This week, in personal knitting, I'm still picking away at my Mystic Star shawl.  I knit a few rounds on that the last couple of nights and I'm going to try to do just that - knit a few rounds a day and make some slow progress on that.

I think I may toss a pair of socks on the needles at some point here in the short term as well.  It seems like a long time since I've had a pair of new handknit socks for myself and since the weather is trying to turn colder here, that seems like a good choice to keep my toes warm. My biggest problem is narrowing down a pattern choice!  I've got a ton of want-to-knit potential projects.

I have signed up to participate in an end-of-the-year SAL/KAL with one of the stashbusting groups I'm in on Ravelry.  I have not realistically had the time to keep up with spinning fiber from my Handspinner's Club this year, but I'm hoping to change that going forward.  I decided I'm going to spin up 4 oz of the October mostly-solid colorway - Bordeaux.

I dyed this colorway on an 80% white merino and 20% black silk base, and I think it's going to be gorgeous spun up.   My plan is to spin this up in November and then, assuming yardage and grist work out okay, knit up Judy Marples' Amberwell Shawl during December.  I think it'll be a fun project - not too big (and yes, I scaled down from another shawl pattern I wanted to make but that required spinning 8 oz, and I'm trying not to overextend myself - everyone is shocked by this, I know!).

Sunday, October 26, 2014


On Thursday, I hopped on a plane to Dallas/Ft. Worth for the final photo shoot for the Legendary Knits collection (volume 3).  Friday a.m., we were up early in nasty rush-hour traffic to meet up at a great little city park for the shoot.  The weather couldn't have been nicer and the light was absolutely brilliant (unlike our last shoot where we fought it every minute).

Despite the fact that travel (even for just a day out and back) kind of sucks the life out of me, I was really SO happy to get a chance to work with Tori (my model) and Kristen (my photographer) to shoot the final set of 8 pieces for this collection.  There's still a lot of behind the scenes and postproduction to get done, but I'll be rolling out individual patterns (with the usual option to prepurchase a print copy along with an ebook copy of all the patterns) between now and the end of the holiday season.

This group of designs was a lot of fun to work on - I can't say I'm completely done forever with the fairy tale and legend theme, but I did feel like these 8 pieces put a nice cap on the other prior releases in a way that pleases my inner OCDness.

All the pieces are women's items this time:  Three shawls (one small/shawlette, one medium, one large sized), a pair of mitts, a hat, a vest and two sweaters.  I can tell you right now the vest is moving into my "wear all the time" layering wardrobe for this fall already!

So if you can stand a little preview, here's a teaser picture from the shoot.  More photos and details to come as the patterns release.

Photo copyright/courtesy of the fabulous Kristen Brooks Photography.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


A mostly quiet weekend as I was a bit under the weather, but I did get quite a bit of knitting done!

I finished up the last tidbits for volume 3 of Legendary Knits and we'll be shooting all those pieces this upcoming Friday.  I'm excited to see these last 8 pieces fit into place - I think they came out really nicely.

I also finished my sample piece for Malabrigo.  I have enough yarn left over that I may do a companion piece if I've got the time, but I'm shooting photos for that the first weekend in November (which is rapidly approaching) and I need to get another piece for that shoot done first as a priority - and I worked pretty steadily on that yesterday.  It's just about half finished but I need to do a bit more charting to get it to the point I can "just" knit on it.

Otherwise, I finished up a book of short stories my dad had sent me and made some really yummy butternut squash soup (with a little creaminess from coconut milk, diluted with a bit of homemade chicken stock, and then spiced up a bit with ginger).  That receipe is definitely going into my "keeper" recipe file as it's dead easy and a nice comfort food.

This week, I start a new contract project for a friend's marketing company (on top of my usual DayJob things), and I need to try to finish up dyeing this big wholesale order I've been working on. Once that's done, I have a new wholesale client in Taos for my yarns, so those will be next on the to-do list.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Catching up

Now that the dust from Spinzilla has settled, I thought I'd do a little catch-up post. I'm still in the midst of dyeing for a large wholesale order, so most of my time is spent working on that, but in the bits of time I've grabbed for myself, I've:

  • Finished up all the sample project for Legendary Knits v3.  We'll be shooting photos for that at this time next week.  (I still have some grading to do for a couple of the garments, but I'm still hopeful we can get this out the door in time for the holidays.)
  • I knit two rounds on my Mystic Star project.  I'm zipping along on this, I know. 
  • Worked up at least a couple of the colorways for next year's Yarn Club for the shop.
  • Have finished about 3/4s of the sample project for Malabrigo that'll release in November.
  • Started working on refilling my bins of yarn to take to the Kid N Ewe festival in early November. 
  • Started work on drafting and knitting the third shawl for my Heroines Shawl Club for next year. 
  • Had a really fun time working on developing some self-striping sock yarn colorways.  (The darn things are like potato chips - I can't quit thinking about new ways to apply the colors!)
Not really any big plans for this weekend.  I'm hoping to get some quality knitting time in and hang out with D for a bit.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Spinzilla: The Final Frontier

Spinzilla ended Sunday at midnight.  I was no where close to my goals for spinning, but I did at least get skeins finished and plied, and counted.  (Note to self:  Plan to take a week of vacation if you want to get more spinning done.  Do not take on new job contracts, wholesale orders, anything else.  And don't add on an extra almost 500 miles of driving during the week either.)

My grand total (by my count, not by Spinzilla counting techniques) was only 655 yards of plied yarn.

I had the Woodland Nymph batt, which you saw last week.

I also finished up my "Desert at Midnight" Corriedale from UrbanGypz.

Technical Specs:
Fiber:  4 oz of Corriedale wool top from UrbanGypz.
Ply: 2-ply.
Weight:  Sport(ish).
Yardage: 288.

I am extremely happy that I spun these two fibers up.  They are long-time stash fibers and I enjoyed spinning both of them quite a bit.  No specific plans for either of them at this point.  

I am planning to participate in a Turkey Trot spin through a Ravelry group I'm a member of, so I need to decide on what that's going to be for my next fiber spun.  I was originally going to try to spin two 4-oz braids for a shawl, but now that I've got a bunch of extra contract work on my plate, I think I should try to be realistic and perhaps spin something no more than 4 oz for a smaller project for the holidays.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Spinzilla Days 3 and 4

Just over the halfway mark for the week of Spinzilla, and I've finally got a finished yarn to share!

Technical Specs:
Fiber:  3.2 oz batt from Butterfly Girl Designs, 90% superwash wool, 8% silk, 2% angelina.
Ply: 2-ply.
Weight:  Light fingering.
Yardage: 367 yards.

I love how this came out with bits of the hot pink silk peeking out from the darker merino.  No specific plans for this, but it had been in stash a while, and I wanted to get it spun up!

I also have finished spinning the singles of the UrbanGypz Corriedale that was my next fiber choice. I am hoping to get these plied up shortly, but today is pretty full as is tomorrow. (I have to go to ABQ two days in a row, which is 200 miles of driving each way, which definitely eats up the day!). Sunday is a work day for me, and the last day of Spinzilla, but I will make time to get this one done!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Spinzilla - Day 2

I finished spinning up the singles from the Woodland Nymph batt last night.  Those are ready to be plied today and then I can see what I've got so far for yardage.  I'm very happy this year that Spinzilla rules let me count the plied yardage.  I use singles much more infrequently than plied yarns and this way, I know I will have a finished yarn I'll be more likely to use.

I started spinning my next fiber in the line-up for the week, a gorgeous handpainted Corriedale roving from UrbanGypz - also a well-marinated stash fiber.

I've stripped the roving into lots of very narrow strips, in an attempt to mix up the colors.  So far, I'm loving the dusty purples and sandy browns in my singles.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Spinzilla - Day 1

Spinzilla kicked off yesterday (Monday), and I had my wheel ready to go!

I decided to start with one of my older stash items - a 3.2-oz batt from Butterfly Girl Designs.  This is a smoothly blended batt with 90% superwash merino, 8% silk and 2% angelina sparkle in the Woodland Nymph colorway.  It looks like a blend of hot pink silk and black, but the black actually has some really dark forest green in it and I think some walnut brown.

I got through about 2 ounces of this as singles, which I'm spinning on my Ashford Traveller.

(I've added a bit more since I snapped this shot yesterday afternoon.)  Hoping to finish up the singles today and ply on Wednesday!

Sunday, October 5, 2014


As busy as I was this weekend, it's hard to imagine it's Sunday already!

Although I had sort of mentally budgeted multiple days to hit the dye studio this weekend, in reality, Thursday I ran errands all day, and on Friday, my DayJob called and were desperate to have some help on a group of deadline documents, so I wound up working most of the day on Friday.  So yesterday, Saturday, I committed to spending the day working on wholesale yarn orders, which I did - but I was tired and ready to put my feet up by dinnertime.

I got up a bit early before work today and sat with a cup of tea and plied the last skein of the fingering-weight combo spin I showed you on Friday so I could have my wheel completely cleaned off and ready to go for Spinzilla spinning, which started tomorrow.

I am really happy with this spin.  It's a bit outside my normal for fiber choices, but I love the tweedy/heathered yarn I got with this AND I used up more stash fiber, so a win/win.

Technical Specs:
Fiber:  4 oz of a natural moorit brown merino from Natchwoolie, and 4 oz "Wayfarer" batt from FatCatKnits.  My final skeins were a total of 7.4 oz since I had some uneven bobbin action going on.
Ply:  2 ply.
Weight:  Fingering.
Yardage:  709 yards.

The grand plan for this is to knit myself a Wandering the Moor shawl, which I've had queued up for eons.  I need to get a few other deadline projects knit up first, but at some point, I'll get this on the needles.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Spinning Friday

Spinzilla starts next week and I'm this close to having all my bobbins cleaned off, but I need to finish plying the final skein of this project:

I am working on an 8-oz combo spin using one ply of a batt from Ginny at FatCatKnits (a 4-oz batt from her "Wayfarer" colorway plus some Corriedale fleece and some silk noil) and one ply from 4 oz of a natural moorit-colored merino from Natchwoolie that's been marinating in stash.

The original batt looked like:

I spun that up into singles:

The merino originally looked like:

(Although I have to admit it actually felt more like a Corriedale to me than a merino.  More kemp and slightly coarse, although it drafted like a dream!)  I spun that up into singles as well: 

I'm now in the process of plying these together and I've got a nice fingering weight 2-ply of the first 4 ounces.  (I need to finish plying the final 4 oz and clean these bobbins off before Monday when Spinzilla starts!).  I should wind up with something like 750 yards, give or take.  

The batt is kind of a Superman batt.  Mild and just a hint of something lurking under the surface until it gets run thru the telephone booth and all the noil comes to the surface.  I didn't want to ply it on itself - I thought that would be too much - but it's creating a lovely tweed yarn with bits of the noil in it when plyed with the plain merino.  

My grand plan for this yarn is a Wandering the Moor shawl, which I've had my eye on for eons.  

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...