Yarntopia: The Adventure of a Summer

So, I had an internship this summer! I was blessed by the opportunity to be able to do it at my LYS (local yarn store), Yarntopia! My major (international studies) requires an internship (and a study abroad, whoop!) at some point. So, by working at Yarntopia, I was able to fufill that requirement *and* get 3 hours of credit for it. (Which brings my summer total up to a whopping 9 credit hours. #summerschool)

_DSC0484

You might know that I’ve worked at Yarntopia before, but it was a bit more casual. I was teaching a bit, and would work a day here or there whenever I was needed. But I didn’t come in on a regular basis, I wasn’t around all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes in a yarn store. But this summer… I got to experience everything. Or, close to everything, haha.

My boss, and the owner of Yarntopia, Sheryl, is one of the sweetest and kindest women I know. She enabled me to gain a larger understanding as to what really goes on in a yarn store – the ups and the downs. To me, this was the experience of a lifetime. This is what I ultimately want to do (but who knows what God will bring my way in the future) and to be able to kind of experience everything before finding things out on my own, was amazing.

_DSC0712

Throughout the weeks that I was there, I was able to meet so many amazing people and get to know the ones I already knew even better. It was so much fun to see some of the ladies walk in through out the summer and have a growing friendship with them! Whether I was helping to fix a knitting mistake, teach a class, find the perfect yarn for a project, or just knitting and laughing with them, I was always having a blast. Which makes the whole experience even cooler – in addition to earning college credit, learning about the business, being surrounded by yarn, I was having a blast. I had so much fun just listening to everyone laugh and enjoy themselves while I piddled around or sitting and knitting. I had so much fun with everyone! But especially Sheryl, we got to spend a lot of time together just being in the store.

_DSC0701

_DSC0696

_DSC0299

_DSC0747

I had so much fun and I learned so much. Yarntopia definitely made my summer amazing and I’m going to miss it and the wonderful Yarntopia community.

Tea with Jam and Bread

Back on August 17th, I cast on a new sweater. Because I really wanted to. Not because I needed to. Definitely not because I didn’t have anything else to knit. The startitis was super bad, so I succumbed to it.

So, I cast on Tea with Jam and Bread by Heidi Kirrmaier! (Can we take a moment for the awesome name?)

_DSC0754

Its been an insanely fast knit, which I love and adore. Makes me feel better about casting on a sweater/pullover/jumper/thing despite the fact that I have so many other projects to finish. But thats okay, because its going quickly ^_^

_DSC0756

I was able to finish the body last night, while watching the first three episodes of North and South (Mr. Thornton, yo. Mr. Thornton.) and got to try it on for the first time. Which was amazing.

_DSC0831

Its super slouchy and comfy. Definitely a snuggling up type pullover.

_DSC0836

I also love the fact that it has pockets! And really nice, non-complicated pockets. Some of the pockets I’ve done in the past, they ended up being the most complicated thing of the sweater (which was completely my own fault and inexperience – not the patterns I was using!) but this one, it was super simple and logical.

_DSC0834

I’m having a wee bit of trouble with the ribbing on the bottom flipping up… But I think with a little bit of spray blocking, it might go away.

_DSC0840

The sleeves still need to be knit and the pocket linings need to be sewn down… but I don’t think either one of those things should take too long! I’m planning on making the sleeves a little bit longer, so I can pull them over my hands. Maybe might add a thumb hole in there, haven’t decided yet, haha! Who knows!

I’m using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed, which is perfect for the college student’s budget, haha. The grey is Dove Heather, the brown is Reindeer Heather, and the black is Wellies Heather (which I may have based the whole pullover around the black, because I love the name of it too much. #knitterknerd #lovethewellies)

_DSC0843

Love the tweedy-ness of it. Its my favorite. I’m looking forward to finishing it and also the colder months when I’ll need to wear it. That’ll be super exciting ^_^

Expanding those fiber crafting abilities!

_DSC0681

I learned something new! And I’m kind of really excited about it…

Tunisian Crochet. You may ask “How… in the world is that different than regular crochet??” Or others might ask “Um.. how is crocheting different than knitting?”… but thats a totally different subject ;-) The Wikipedia article about Tunisian crochet is quite good, if you want a precise description of how crochet and Tunisian crochet are different.

Now, you’re probably asking… “Why… did you want to learn this? You don’t like to crochet. Why this? How is it different again?” Or, you might still be asking “Wait, so knitting is with two sticks, while crocheting is just one? Which one has the hook?”

To which, I would reply with that it was a very spontaneous decision and despite the fact that it is crocheting, I’m really enjoying it! Or, if it was the second question, I’d probably laugh and use my purse knitting as a visual aid d^_^b

Though this has opened up many possibilities of scarves and stuff like that with the simple stitch and with handspun, or crazy variegated yarn!

But my main inspiration was a sample that we had (and still have!) in Yarntopia, my LYS. Its a Tunisian Crochet Entrelac baby blanket. Absolutely gorgeous (and as I write this, I realize that I don’t have a picture of it, haha. You’ll see mine soon!)

While doing my work, piddling around the store for a couple of days… I decided I wanted to make it, but with chunkier yarn and make it bigger so it’d more of an adult blanket!

Sheryl, my amazing boss and owner of Yarntopia, showed me the basics of Tunisian, got me going on a little square, I mastered that, and then had to wait for my yarn to come in. I decided to stick with the same yarn the baby blanket was made with, but went with the chunky version… tada, Marble Chunky! Its quite a beautiful yarn… also machine washable! Even better!

It finally arrived, and Kathleen, a extremely sweet and delightful co-worker and friend, got me started on the actual blanket… and it reminded me of learning how to do certain knitting techniques. Using double pointed needles and reading patterns in particular, haha. The pattern, the jargon, the terms… they went right over my head, haha. I couldn’t read the pattern, let alone see the term and know how to actually do it. Thats where Kathleen came in, and she steered me in the right direction!

_DSC0679

I’ve been working on it a little bit every day, making lots of progress! The movement of doing the stitches is becoming more natural to me, its not taking as long to do one square! I now have around four and a half rows of the entrelac squares. I highly doubt I’ll have it done before school starts, but I think it’ll be my “Time to veg.. but not knitting…” project.

I can’t wait to be able to snuggle under it!

Tour de Fleece 2014 comes to a close…

_DSC0639

Tour de Fleece has come and gone, sadly. But holy banana, was it successful! I haven’t tallied up my total yardage quite yet, but here are a couple pictures of a few of the things I spun…

_DSC0640

_DSC0643

Cherry Cola from Daybreak Dyeworks! 254 yards of a 2-ply!

_DSC0672

Cerise from Three Waters Farm! This was my last one of the tour… got the singles spun before everything finished up, but wasn’t able to get it plied until after the Tour was over. Its the thought that counts! I was close!

_DSC0674

This is the TdF Team Braid from Daybreak Dyeworks! (I’m a bit obsessed, can you tell? Heeee ^_^) Dawn (of Daybreak Dyeworks) sent along a braid for my mom for the tour! It was so incredibly nice of her! My mom requested something really light and airy, to which I decided on singles! (more on that later… I learned how to do that! whoop!) I’m extremely happy how this skein turned out… its so insanely soft and squishy! I got 596 yards of the singles. I have yet to full them! I’ll do that soon!

_DSC0669

I’m extremely happy with how I did during the tour. I learned a lot of new things! I tried new techniques. I experimented. I did a lot of research before doing said experimenting (it was kind of scary, haha. #fiberfears). I was anxious it wouldn’t work out, but it was a huge success! I spun with a couple of fibers that I had never spun with before. I sold some of my yarn at my LYS, where I’m interning this summer!

Needless to say… I can’t wait for next year’s tour d^_^b
…which, if all things go as planned, I should hopefully be overseas somewhere, possibly, in France! My major requires a study abroad at some point (oh, how sad. a study abroad. how terrible ;-P) and since I’m almost done with my language requirement classes, I should be on target to do my study abroad in the Summer of 2015! Which means… that I might be in France during the Tour, and might even get to see some of it, maybe. That blows my mind, haha.

Although, if I’m over there… I can’t really bring my wheel. Sad day. Who knows, I plan on finding a yarn store, if there is one, wherever I end up going. There might be wheels there, maybe? Either way, I plan on stocking up on handspun, so I can at least be *knitting* with handspun!

But all of this is still up in the air… so who knows what is going to happen!

_DSC0642