Tour de Fleece 2014 Progress

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve been spinning up a storm. I have high goals. Or ideas of goals, that it would be really cool to be able to say that I did accomplish them.

I have quite a bit of stashed fiber that I’d like to clear out. Not because I want to get rid of it, but because the colors are so pretty and I want to use it! Agh!

Ultimately, I’d like to spin a skein a day. Its ending up that I can crank out one in an evening and the first half of the next day. So, about a day? Just not within the outline of one day ;-P

As of today, I’ve spun 6 skeins and 1,174 yards for the 2014 Tour de Fleece. And these are all plied numbers, so I’ve spun more than double that in singles. Whoop!

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The one on the left is some fiber that I’m not sure where I got… but its pretty fun! Thats 160yds of a 2-ply and it is being sold at Yarntopia (my LYS and also where I’m interning this summer!) On the right is a Loop Bullseye Bump in the Forest Nymph colorway. I got 148yds of an N-ply. Another one that is being sold at Yarntopia!

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Probably my favorite so far! This is Malabrigo Nube in the Arco Iris colorway. I got 254yds of an N-ply. Haha, not selling this one… its too pretty and soft!!

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This is Two if By Hand in the Bean Feast colorway. I got 224yds of a 2-ply! I finished it on Friday, brought it to work with me on Monday, and it was snatched up (Hi Loretta! :-P)! It was a gorgeous skein and I’m glad it went to a good home!

I’ve also spun up two other skeins that I haven’t had time to photograph yet.. both need baths. One will be coming to be sold at Yarntopia, the other one, I spun for my mom! But I got 194yds for each one of those skeins. Both are a 2-ply.

Now I’m about to go put a braid of Three Waters Farm on the wheel! I’m so excited about this one! I got this one for Christmas and have been saving it! Now the time has come!

I love it when the Tour comes around. In addition to National Knit a Sweater in a Month time and the knitting goals that go along with the Olympics (so much drama about the name, my goodness… you guys know what I’m talking about!) the Tour de Fleece is the best. No question!

Currently Knitting!

I’m working on lots of things right now. Things for Yarntopia, as shop samples. Things for myself. Things that I’ve just cast on. Things that have been on the needles for almost a year and I’m getting super passionate about them again.

Here are a couple of those things ;-)

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This is for Yarntopia! I’m making Piper’s Journey by Paula Emons-Fuessle as a shop sample! I’m making it out of Bergèr’s Origins Merinos. Its a beautiful yarn, super super soft, great stitch definition, Its going to have a beautiful drape once blocked. And we have lots of fun colors at Yarntopia! So, if you’re near by the Katy, TX area and are looking for some fun yarn… stop by! Check out our facebook page for more information! d^_^b

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This could be for Yarntopia, but I’ll be keeping it when its all done ^_^ We recently got a shipment of Malabrigo Rastita.. which I had never seen or touched before. Needless to say, the Malabrigo buttery-soft quality was there, and I wanted to leave with a skein in every color (Oh, the trials of interning at a yarn store ;-P)

I picked out a color for myself, and picked out a colorway to take home and surprise my mom! I had a pattern in mind, and she decided she wanted to do the same thing! So, by the end we’ll have matching FOs in different colorways of Malabrigo Rastita! d^_^b We are both doing Of the Moon by Caitlin Ffrench (free pattern alert! Whoop!) Which was actually originally done in Rastita, so that worked out really well! I’ve been working on this along with Harry Potter himself (and some other of my favorite stitch markers) The Harry Potter set came from Slipped Stitches and the three other ones came from OwlPrintPanda!

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This is a shop sample for Yarntopia, that after awhile I’ll take it back to use. Its going to be so adorable! This is the Loch hat from tincanknit’s book “Handmade in the UK”. I’m using a really nice yarn that we have in the shop. I’m making it out of Manos del Uruguay Serena, which is a 60% Baby Alpaca, 40% Pima Cotton. I love how slouchy it is. I don’t have many lacy hats like this, so I think it’ll be a good addition to my (extensive) hat collection!

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This. has been on my needles since September 2013, according to my Ravelry project page, haha! I love big knits. I love knitting them. I love getting to wear them. Which makes the fact that College Station gets significantly colder (or so it seems, haha!) than Houston is handy. Therefore, I can knit these big knits and wear them and enjoy every second of it!

I believe I’m using one skein of Imperial Yarn Columbia, and one skein of Noro Kureyon. I’m not sure if one of each will be enough. But I know where to get more, so it’ll great!

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Then lastly (but not really, theres a lot more, but this is what I’m inspired by right now!) is my Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig! I’m knitting it with Quince and Co. Chickadee! I started this cutie back on May 11th (according to my Ravelry page, haha!) and its been on the back burner a wee bit. But its back in the front! We went to go hear the Houston Symphony perform some of Gershwin, Prokofiev, and Saint-Saens at the Miller Outdoor Theater in the Museum District near downtown Houston (which is one of my favorite areas of Houston!)

The music was absolutely amazing. The atmosphere was amazing. We brought a picnic to have before the concert started, which was a blast. The weather was perfect! Then while the music was going on, there were beautiful clouds rolling by and the stars were out as well. Plus, there was knitting on the featherweight cardigan ^_^

So, these are a couple of the projects that I’m working on right now! I’m really excited about all of them and I wish I had more hands and more hours in the day to be able to work on all of them d^_^b And! If I get these all finished before the end of Stash Dash, the yardage will count towards my numbers!

The Smell of Freshly Washed Wool

You know you’re a (procrastinating) spinner when your bathroom ends up looking like this occasionally…

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The bathroom also smells very strongly of wet wool, which I’m totally okay with… I think it smells amazing. Freshly washed yarn with a scent of Unleashed Soak… ahhhh.

My brother, on the other hand, isn’t quite a big fan of it, haha. Good thing it dries relatively quickly ;-)

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This is part of my Tour de Fleece prep (it starts in… 9 days, guys! Only 9 days!!), its part of my progress of Stash Dash 2014 (an event created by TheKnitGirllls, where we try and use up 5k of our stash. Yes, I did say 5k. Which is 3.1 miles, 5,468.07 yards. 16,404.2 feet. And I’m also working on collecting some of my handspun to be sold at my LYS, where I’m also interning this summer. (Though, not all the ones hanging are going to be sold. One is for my mom and two of them I just can’t part with!)

In regards to Stash Dash 2014, I’m quite sure where I stand currently. But Its not just spinning, its also knitting. Then if you knit with what you’ve spun, then it counts as double the amount.

I’m going to figure out where I am foot/yard/mile wise soon, so I can get that documented. My guess would be that I’m close to 2,500 yards.. maybe even 3,000 yards. I have quite a few little projects that add up yardage wise d^_^b

Tour de Fleece Prep and Practice (plus finished yarn!!)

Tour de Fleece is coming up, you guys! Its getting closer every day! (I’m a wee bit excited, if you couldn’t tell. I’ve mentioned it quite a bit recently, heehee)

You might be a bit confused as to what Tour de Fleece is. Sounds kinda weird. I’m probably not helping by obsessing about it, haha. Its not in English… for the most part (hint: its French!) But! If you’re familiar with the Tour de France, its basically the same thing! Just minus being in France and actually riding bikes, haha.

Spinners (and knitters… All the crafters!) dedicate the time of the Tour de France (which is July 5th to July 27th this year) to spin every day that the bikers are trekking along the French countryside. In greater detail, we even follow the days: Time trial days, we see how much we can do within a set time. Climbing days, we see how many yards we can do in a day. Challenge day (which is when they climb their biggest mountain), we spin something challenging. And last, but not least, the rest days, we rest (Which is July 15th and July 21st)

Then, if we want to, we can wear yellow on the last day to be victorious. Because… by the end, you’re feeling mighty fine about all the work you’ve done, how much better your spinning is, and now you have all this marvelous handspun to either knit with or give away!

I think I’ve said this before, but this is definitely one of my favorite knitting/fiber events. It means all the spinning, getting to look at gorgeous fiber (end up getting some of said gorgeous fiber, probably too much, but we won’t go there. I know I have a problem, so its all okay. #noshame)

The planning. Oh, the planning. Its so much fun! I have lots of plans. Lots of fun fiber. I’ll make a post soon with lots of links and pictures and happiness.

I don’t have everything I’m doing documented quite yet, but I’ll give you a sample picture of all my options for possible spinning…

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Yes, yes. I already admitted to having a problem, okay? No need to dwell on things. #noshame #nojudging

In the meantime, until the Tour starts, its time to start the prep and begin practicing! Believe it or not, people have actually injured themselves by jumping in on the first day and spinning for hours and hours. I speak the truth. It has happened. Not to me, but I’ve heard stories. (the non-knitters/spinners probably laughed at that. You did, didn’t you? Don’t deny it. I saw that smile. Its okay, haha. I laughed too… and still do :-P)

So, some of my practice is this!

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This is 845 glorious yards of a 2-ply from 8oz of fiber (colorway: Baby, Its Cold Outside) that I got from Dawn of Daybreak Dyeworks! (She’s currently getting ready for a big wool market, so her shop don’t have anything in it. But keep checking back! Its all gorgeous and SO amazing! Plus, Dawn is one of the sweetest people ever!)

This is going towards my Stash Dash 2014 numbers, which will boost it quite a bit. I’m also now knitting something with it (which means I can double whatever I use for the thing I’m knitting! Whoop!) the WIP with this yarn is quite awesome, so I’ll save that for another blog post.

And! Theres more!

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This is 254yds of a 2-ply from Three Waters Farm (colorway: Summer Rooftops). I brought this with me to work yesterday (around 10:00, and had it all spun and plied around 2:00! The perks of working/interning at a yarn store d^_^b more on that later!!) More Stash Dash yardage! This isn’t including the knit items that need to be blocked and photographed. And the other skein of handspun that I finished recently.

So many things to show you guys! Not enough time! Oh well. It’ll all show up eventually :-)

Also! Thanks for the feedback on the technical post, and what would be interesting to you guys! It gave me lots of great ideas, and I’m beginning to collect stuff and pictures for helpfulness and all that jazz d^_^b

Picking yarn for a sweater…

So, since I don’t believe its possible for me to only be working on one project at a time (I’ve tried. It doesn’t work, haha!) I’ll just continue to show you guys bits of what I’m working on!

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This doesn’t look like much right now, but hopefully it’ll soon become more obvious as to what it is, haha! It is going to be a Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig from the Knitbot blog.

I made one many many many moons ago. Very close to the beginning of my knitting career in Houston. My skills were not quite ready for that, haha. In other words, it turned out terribly and I’m not sure where it is. But! I learned a lot from it… mainly about how yarn choice is really important when it comes to the type of sweater you want. Gauge is important in that regard as well. I didn’t know that (or I probably thought I knew what I was doing… I really didn’t, haha!)

Now… probably around 6 or 7 years later (crazy, right? I’ve been knitting for 8 years.) I am giving it another go, with a lot more knowledge about drape, density, durability (all the Ds, haha!) and how its important to really know your yarn… To know how the fiber content will affect your garment. It can either make or break it!

This time around, I’m using Quince and Co.’s Chickadee in the colorways “Kumlien’s Gull” (the grey) and “Egret” (the cream). The pattern originally called for Quince and Co.’s Tern base, which is extremely similar to their Chickadee base. Tern is 50% Wool and 50% Silk, while the Chickadee base is 100% Wool. And yes, Tern is technically a fingering weight while Chickadee is listed as a sport/DK weight… nothing that a little change of needle size can’t fix!

Both would be amazing options for this sweater. But heres why I went with Chickadee, instead of Tern, the called for yarn…

1) I wanted a sweater that could definitely be a sweater that would last a long time, with lots of hard use. Because of the nature of Chickadee, without the silk, I can see it lasting a little longer than Tern. Both will hold their own for a long time, I’m sure. But for what I’m looking for, Chickadee was better.

2) True, its supposed to be kind of a drapey cardigan. But I’m planning on doing some different things, so it wouldn’t have been as drapey anyway. The shawl collar won’t be as flowy and it’ll be a bit longer. Maybe the sleeve length will be longer, I’m not sure yet. Who knows!

3) I’ve had more experience with Chickadee, and knew how it knitted up, how it blocks, how much does it stretch, if at all… all that jazz. I have a specific look I’m going for with this sweater, so I needed something I knew would work.

4) Annnd… they had more color options for Chickadee d^_^b The colors for Tern were beautiful, don’t get me wrong! But for the stripes I was wanting, there were better options with Chickadee.

When it comes to sweaters, I go through a pretty long process of figuring out the perfect yarn… and this is kind of what I do! If I’m going to make myself a sweater that I’m going to love and wear all the time and be super sad when it finally gives out… that yarn has to be the perfect yarn for that particular sweater! Its all part of the fun!

I was actually talking with my mom about this the other day… Process knitting vs Product knitting. We both agreed that we’re a little both… we love the process, we love the product. But we also love the part of getting to pick out the pattern and the yarn and gather the needles, pattern, project bag… all that stuff! Its part of the fun of knitting. Probably one of my favorite parts, I think! But I love all of it… so I don’t know if that counts ;-)

Hope you found this interesting! If you like posts like this, more technical stuff, let me know and I’ll come up with ideas. Or if theres something in particular you’d like me to write about in regards to knitting leave me a comment below or you can contact me via Twitter or Instagram or Ravelry!