Spinning and Knitting Goodness

_DSC0086

Happy spring break! Long time no see, huh? Yes, I realize my last post was more than a month ago, where I said I hoped I would be able to write more. Ha, that was super successful, wasn’t it.

In addition to not having a super amount of time to work on stuff, I also didn’t have my photo editing program on my computer. So, that made editing a pain and not very convenient at all, haha. But! I just downloaded it on my new computer, so I am set to go d^_^b

So, here I am… WITH PICTURES… (!!) to talk about that awesome thing called knitting. And spinning, that too.

_DSC0090

while at school, my spinning time is even less than my knitting time. Haha, probably because its not like I can pack up my wheel and carry it with me around campus. Needless to say, that’s what I’ve been doing mainly since getting home on Friday.

I first spun up some random braid I grabbed off my wall of yarny goodness. But this is something I’ve been saving since I got it… because its super special, and I have a fun idea for what I want to make with it when its done!

This is 8oz of “Baby, its cold outside” by Daybreak Dyeworks. I originally got this to be on the Daybreak Dyeworks Ravellenic Games team… buuuut, that didn’t really happen. School happened, haha.

Anyways! I’m spinning it now and loving every second of it. I’ve never gotten 8oz of any fiber before, so this is definitely a bigger project for me. It’ll be a fractal spun, 2-ply (haha… no surprise d^_^b) and I’m interested to see how much yardage I can get out of it. Usually when I spin this particular weight (or try to anyway, haha!) I usually get around 500ish out of 4oz.

Ultimately, I’d like to make the Quaker Yarn Stretcher by Susan Ashcroft with as much of my yarn as possible. True, the pattern is written for a worsted, but I can fiddle around with the gauge d^_^b

_DSC0092

I also finally cast this on. And you’re probably wondering, what in the world is this and why I use the word “finally”, haha. Things get so behind when theres no blogging happening, haha!

So, I got this yarn (Quince and Co Ospery) for my birthday! (Which was on Feb 15th. Hello, 21!) and I was going to cast it on then and it was going to be great. That didn’t happen, haha. If it did, I’m sure I’d be done with the sweater by now, haha.

I’ll be making Louise by Carrie Bostick Hoge and I am super excited about it, haha! So, the colors I’m going with is the coral for the bottom ribbing, neck band, and button bands. The grey for the main color of the body and sleeves. Then the navy (which is kind of hard to tell… its a beautiful navy!) for the cuffs. Still undecided on the buttons… but I have plenty of time for that d^_^b

What else am I excited about?

_DSC0100

These little stitch markers! And the adorable tin that they came in. They came from Slipped Stitch Studios and their Harry Potter club of the month deal. I don’t know if they have any left, I couldn’t find any on their website… But they always have super adorable stitch markers, bags, notions, all the things. Definitely check them out!

Also, if you’re in need of a super good book, I have a recommendation!

_DSC0101

Trains and Lovers by Alexander McCall Smith!

I’ve only read two books of Mr. McCall Smith’s (44 Scotland Street and Trains and Lovers) and I’m a huge fan.

If you enjoy people watching, you’ll love his books. What I like about the way he writes (or one of the many things, haha!) is that in addition to his own description of things (people, places, events, etc) he includes what characters think of the same things… but not really simple stuff, its more realistic opinions.

I got this book on… Monday and finished it on Tuesday. It was super super good. Also, don’t be discouraged by the Goodreads reviews about some of his books. If its an action/exciting story you’re looking for, this probably isn’t it. But if you want to enjoy the plodding along lives of multiple characters and their ins and outs… this is perfect. d^_^b

Also…

_DSC0088

Definitely loving all the cat time I’m getting. Definitely going to miss him when I head back on Saturday :-/

Shameless Enabling

You know you love it, haha. I know I do… though I know I should resist the urge and stay strong. No more new fiber or yarn till I use up some of my stash. Whenever I hear “Now I have some enabling” on a podcast or read it somewhere, I immediately perk up and am on the lookout for new goodies.

Saying to live by: You can never have too much yarn or fiber or crafty goodness.

That being said – read at your own risk. These online shops I’m about to inform you about have many EXTREMELY gorgeous things. Resisting them is definitely a challenge. With that, I wish you good luck!

_DSC1854

This was some of my loot from Christmas! My family knows me too well, haha.

On the left, we have “Tealberry” from Cloudlover. (Which when I found the link, I saw two other colors that are so gorgeous. Sugar Plum and North by Northwest really caught my eye). As of right now, I don’t have any set plans for this. When I start spinning, I’ll see what it wants to be and just go with it! I’ve never spun anything from Cloudlover, but I’ve only heard amazing things about it. I can’t wait! Its superwash BFL, and it looks like she has some Tealberry left! Definitely go check it out!

In the middle, is one Three Waters Farm. No surprise there, right? I’m quite addicted to their fiber. The colors… I want them all, haha! They are a bit more pricey, but still a really amazing deal for the quality you’re getting! Haha, every time I look at the shop page, the fiber nut in me goes a little crazy. So many possibilities! The two colors that I got are Summer Rooftops (which is a BFL wool roving) and Gold Tonal (which is Polwarth and silk).

As of right now, I don’t have any plans for Summer Rooftops, but the Gold Tonal, I have an idea. I’d like to try spinning just a single (which I haven’t done before) and then possibly making something like CatReading’s Curtain Cowl. I still need to do some research on spinning a single. I’ve heard theres a semi-complicated bath process to help calm down and re-energize the fibers. But I look forward to the challenge ^_^

Then on the right, is Daybreak Dyeworks! I love Dawn, she’s so incredibly sweet and her products are just amazing. Its been fun to see her business grow! The color I got is called Desert Sky and its superwash merino. I actually started spinning this last night, and its turning up beautifully! Its going to be a fractal 2-ply, and so I’m really interested to see how the fractal ends up! I’m hoping for maybe a worsted, but we’ll see d^_^b There are so many fun colors in her shop right now! “Baby, its cold outside”, “Lollipop”, and “Hipster” look super fun! Definitely check out her shop!

Heehee, so thats my shameless enabling for now. But I have a little bit more enabling for later ;-P But you should go check out these online shops, they have so much awesomeness to offer!

Also, I wrote this post with the help of the Frozen soundtrack (Does anyone want to build a snowman??) and a warm cat laying on top of me. I love not having any school to worry about ^_^

FO!: Handspun Norie

My goodness, things have been busy! But busy with good things! And lots of awesome things have happened as a result of being busy… so its all good d^_^b

One of these things, was that I had my NSC (New Student Conference) at A&M last Thursday+Friday… which is where we got kind of oriented and registered for my classes! Yessss!!!

And of course, I brought a long my knitting… I can’t bear to sit still for long periods of time (or any time at all, haha!) without knitting or doing anything with my hands. I had two goals for the two days.

1) I was going start and finish Norie (a hat pattern by Gudrun Johnston) the first day.

2) I was going to at least start, and get some progress on a pair of socks knit with some A&M yarn that my bosses (who are some of the sweetest people ever) gifted me.

_DSC1559

Tada!! I got my first goal done! In one day! BAM! Haha, if you follow me on Twitter or on Instagram, you probably saw my progress through out the day :-P

I don’t think I’ve mentioned my yarn before… I finished it pretty shortly before we left, and I didn’t get the time to write a post about it :-P

But this was the last braid that I got from before the Tour de Fleece from Daybreak Dyeworks (which now I have to decide which of Dawn’s new colors I’m going to get… ohhh, the trials of a spinner ;-P)

_DSC1546

(Bertie couldn’t restrain himself and just *had* to be in the picture… he just *had* to.)
The colorway name is Dance Fever, and its some of the softest most vibrant things *ever*!

_DSC1550

When I started to spin it, I had a hat in mind.. so I was super excited to find out that I had gotten what I wanted/needed – a DK weight with a ton of yardage (404yds in total… I used about 200ish for the hat)

Once again, its a fractal spun 2 ply ;-P Haha, I don’t see the pattern of fractal spinning will be changing any time soon.. its so much fun!

So, as soon has I finished it and got it niddy-noddied up, I threw it in a bath so I could get it ready in time in order to knit Norie while walking around campus and sitting and listening to people talk about financial aid.

It actually didn’t dry in time.. but I set it in front of a fan, and that fixed things real quick d^_^b

_DSC1569

I am super duper happy with how the hat turned out… I followed CatReading’s mods by excluding the Cat’s Paw lace sections and just putting in plain stockinette instead. Also, because I was using size US6s instead of US5s, I didn’t do as many repeats before starting the decreases.

_DSC1558

In my rush to get everything ready to go, I forgot DPNs, haha! And my tape measure (which Sarah of Knit York City replied to my tweet of despair with a recommended measuring tape app, haha. Thanks, Sarah!) So that was a huge bummer… thankfully, I was able to squeak by at the end with two circulars (I have a 10″ circular I carry around in my notions bag… super handy, haha!)

_DSC1586

The hat can be worn so many different ways, and its really long… but not too long to look goofy, haha! And its the perfect pattern for handspun :-P

I’m definitely going to be making more of these… I foresee many Nories being made for Christmas presents d^_^b

Pomme de Pin – Just Needs Buttons!

_DSC1491

Although all the knitting is done on my Pomme de Pin cardigan… its still not finished. Buttons, thats all it needs!

_DSC1492

But I had to take some pictures because its just to awesome – I love it so much!

_DSC1490

(I spy a cat ^_^)

Once I sew on the buttons, I’ll get official FO pictures where you can see the whole thing, haha. Its hard to get the whole thing while sitting on a bed and using a mirror for pictures ;-P

Tour de Fleece catch up!

Its been crazyyyyy busy! Like, holy cow. What is going on?!

Not really, but it seems that way, haha.

This past weekend, my family and I went over to College Station to start all the prep and painting of our apartments/flats/whatever. Mainly mine… right now. We’ll eventually to my brother’s place, haha.

All the woodwork and baseboards and all the walls are done downstairs. All the woodwork is done upstairs… annnd.. thats it, haha.

We were extremely sore and tired when we got home. And the first night staying there, we had an unfortunate mishap with the fire alarms in my place. Which… was just bad bad bad. No fire, or anything. It was the paint fumes… not fun. We got things fixed, hallelujah. But, yes. We were extremely tired.

But we’re home now! For a couple days, we go back on Wednesday to continue the work and painting, and my brother has his New Student Conference – woot woot! Unfortunately, that means not very much spinning and/or knitting. So, I’m getting in as much as I can before we leave again.

So yeah, I’m behind on posting about Tour de Fleece stuff. Here are some pictures ^_^

_DSC1421

Here’s Neon and Neutral by Daybreak Dyeworks (can’t say this enough – go check her store out, it’s the BEST!) I got around 230yds of a heavy DK/light worsted weight.

(Sidenote: Dawn, from Daybreak Dyeworks, just started a Farmers Market series in her shop, and I want to buy all the things. The Eggplant is just… aaaghhh, haha! Back to the post, heehee :-P)

I’m not sure what I’m going to be making with this.. I want something that’ll be fun and funky. Maybe I’ll make a plain hat, but add some stripes or something. Or use this as the stripes. Oooor… maybe a Stephen West pattern? Or something? I don’t know, haha.

_DSC1426

This was quite amazing, actually. We got home on Sunday afternoon (and the AC wasn’t working. Fellow Houstonians, you’ll understand how bad that was, haha. Its fixed now, hallelujah) so, we got home… and unloaded, then I came up to spin. And, I spun and plied the entire 4oz braid in an evening, finishing at around a little past midnight. Which, I’m pretty happy with.

Second yarn! Woot woot!

_DSC1429

I’m insanely happy with how this turned out. Like, oh my goodness… So happy, haha! This is the Lavinia color from Into the Whirled (from the Knitabulls SAL d^_^b) (which, I now realize that I’ve been posting “Into the Whorl”, and thats not right, haha. Its “Whirled” :-P) and I got 270yds of a worsted weight. The barber pole (ha! Got it right this time, haha! Not barbera pulling :-P)

_DSC1427

Anyways, the whole fractal spinning… so addictive. Can’t stop, haha!

_DSC1428

Before I had spun it up, I had thought I was going to be making these mittens… but after its bath (its drying now ^_^), it sooo much more softer. Which is amazing, because it was already really soft to begin with, haha. But who knows, haha. We’ll see what happens ^_^

_DSC1422

Bertie was not happy that we were gone over the weekend. This does not bode well for when I actually leave for college. *sadface*

Tour de Fleece – Day 1 and Day 2

_DSC1415

The Tour de Fleece is one of my favorite times of the year.. Spinning is SO MUCH FUN!

So, as a result of Day 1 and Day 2, I was able to finish this skein of A Pineapple Under the Sea by Daybreak Dyeworks (She has a colorway I haven’t seen in her store before called Imaginary Delight… its calling my name… its so gorgeous!)

I got 370yds of a sport weight. Fractal spun… Don’t think I’m going back. Its definitely definitely my favorite way to spin things now.

_DSC1412

The yarn got definite Bertie approval….

_DSC1410

He came and nested on it… then I had to intervene because he started chewing and biting it. Which he wasn’t too happy about, haha!

My mom picked out this fiber, so she’ll be picking a pattern at some point. I’m so happy with how it turned out! I’m glad I did all that training before the Tour started so now its not as much figuring things out and experimenting as much as it is enjoying seeing the results of lots of practice. And then getting the reward of some fun yarn in the end d^_^b

But this is amazing fiber, it’s so nicely prepped… its a dream to spin!

_DSC1417

So whats up next on my wheel? Well, as soon as I finish this post, I plan to go and start my Into the Whorl in the Lavinia colorway.. with the Knitabulls SAL

_DSC1418

I got it all divided last night, so I’m ready to today ^_^ I want to spin this a bit thicker and maybe make a pair of mittens… I’ve never made mittens, and I’d kinda like to have a pair. I hate having cold hands… especially while walking across campus ;-P

Stash Enhancement – Daybreak Dyeworks!

Tada! More finished practice yarn! Woooo!

_DSC1348

I split this braid down the middle, hoping that it’d be somewhat evenly divided. Which, I think it was… but I had a fair amount of singles on one bobbin than the other at the end… which I don’t think is too weird – from what I’ve heard from really good spinner people, they do that occasionally too. So, I just navajo-plied the rest of the singles ^_^

But I’m quite happy with what I got! The 2-ply yarn was quite overspun, but loosened up with a nice long soak and about a day hanging up with something heavy hanging on the bottom. I’m getting there! It’s getting better! Woooo!

The fiber was from Northbound Knitting, in the “Wine and Debauch” colorway. It was about 4ozs… and a mixed BFL combed top.

_DSC1347

I got some pretty good yardage too – the 2-ply ended up being around 274 yards. I also got 134yds of the navajo-ply.

Like I mentioned before, I really want to make a pair of these Easy Handspun Mitts by Vera Brosgol. But I might wait until I make more 2-plies and see which one is my favorite… But then again, who says I have to have just *one* pair of these mitts ^_^

In other fiber news – more prepping for the Tour de Fleece! It’s getting closer every day! I’m so glad that my French class is online this summer, so I can dedicate even more time to spinning every day. Oh, the joys of a knitter/spinner/fiber person d^_^b

So, a couple posts ago, I mentioned the teams I had joined for the Tour, one of which being the Daybreak Dyeworks team. A couple days ago, I ordered some of Dawn’s fiber from her shop (go check her out – she has a Tour de Fleece coupon code! 15%!) and my braids of fiber came today! Eeeee!!

_DSC1352

Figuring out which ones I wanted was definitely a challenge, haha! They’re all so prettyy! But in the end, I ended up with “Neon and Neutral” (the bottom.. Which is 4oz of 100% Falkland. This is also the Team Braid.) “Dance Fever” (the middle. This is 4oz of 100% Merino) and my mom picked out “A Pineapple Under the Sea” (the top right. This is 4oz of 100% Falkland.)

She also included an extremely sweet note in my package of goodies. If you’re in the market for stash enhancing for the Tour or for whatever reason – you definitely need to check Daybreak Dyeworks out, because it’s awesome! Dawn is so sweet!

_DSC1351

Bertie approved of the braids as well, haha! Well, he was probably more interested in the bag… But you can just see the approval on his face…

_DSC1355

See? That is cat approval, right there.

Pomme de Pin progress

_DSC0694

More progress on my Pomme de Pin!

_DSC0695

I’m really enjoying the lace pattern, it’s really exciting and definitely not boring…

_DSC0697

Its going really quickly, and I’m sure I’ll reach the 17″ in no time ^_^

_DSC0699

Bertie found it very shortly after I took pictures, and decided to take ownership of it, haha.

_DSC0700

I don’t have the heart to take him off… He’s just too cute. Oh my goodness, haha.

Midterms = No knitting mojo

_DSC0651

Bertie and I are quite sad that I haven’t posted in like a week and a half. Thats crazy, I’ve never done that before… and I hope I don’t do that again, haha.

What was I doing? School got extremely crazy, midterms right and left.. non-midterms that had to be done.. Homework and tests were coming out my ears. Plus, I wasn’t really feeling that amazing, so that didn’t help. Oh, the joys of college.

So because of all hectic school and being tired all the time, my knitting mojo went waaaaay down.

“Wat, Grace, how can your knitting mojo have gone down? You’re always knitting!” you may be thinking.

This is true, but I wasn’t like bouncing off the walls about what I was knitting, and wasn’t really motivated to talk about it. (This is not to say that I’m not knitting awesome things, I am. I’m so excited about all the things on the needles. Just at the time, I was so tired I didn’t even feel like knitting. It was a bummer, haha!)

During one of my study breaks, my mom and I watched Diane of the Knitabulls podcast, episode #102 from March 14th entitled “Knitting What Makes Me Happy”.

Diane is so adorable and sweet, if you enjoy knitting podcasts, I definitely recommend hers… check it out! But in this episode, she talked about how this year she was only going to knit on things that made her happy! She wasn’t going to be pressured to finish things she cast on, if they had become a little tedious or boring to work on.

I love that. I don’t consider knitting (and all crafting) as something that I have to do in order to get a sweater or a hat the end… because I need a sweater or a hat. I do it because I *love* to knit. The things I knit are fun, and I’m excited about how they’ll turn out.

That kind of got lost amongst all my school, and knitting wasn’t quite as excited as it had been without the school. I didn’t want to knit on something half-heartedly then throw up a blog post without the passion behind the project, if that makes sense.

So here I am again! Because I took Diane’s idea to heart, and cast something new on because I could and because it’d make me feel good, haha! Despite the fact that I have several sweaters going, a couple shawls going and a wall full of yarn.

Over spring break, my family and I made a crazy fast road trip in one day… Houston to College Station to Austin, then home. In one day. But it was AWESOME. In Austin we stopped by the Hill Country Weavers (Oh my goodness. One of the best yarn stores I’ve ever been in. If you have a chance to go there, GO THERE. NOW.)

and we saw their shelf of Brooklyn Tweed… both Loft and Shelter. My mom and I squee-ed a bit, haha :-P

We came prepared though! A couple days earlier I had found a Pomme de Pin cardigan by Amy Christoffers that had been done in Loft! It was absolutely gorgeous…(you can check it out here!) and that sold both my mom and I on making one. Before we had been kinda like “ehhh, it’s so cute. But I don’t know about what yarn”. Loft is the yarn.

So we came home with several skeins of Loft, in addition to many other things (eh heh. It’s nearly impossible to go in there and not want to buy everything. I challenge you to go in there with something in mind, and not come out with at least one thing extra, hahaha!)

_DSC0647

_DSC0649

This is my color… and it’s so beautiful. I love the little flecks of black that show up. So yes, I cast on on… Sunday. Then today after my last class, I was almost done with the first lace repeat. Holy banana, it’s so gorgeous! And squishy! And it smells good!!

My mom got the Almanac colorway, which is that bright blue… but yet subtle enough so it’s still really classy. It’ll be adorable.

What else did we get? Well, I ended up getting a couple skeins of various MadTosh…

_DSC0653

The ones closest to the bottom are Merino Lite, the other three are DK. I’m not quite sure what I’ll be doing with them… but I know that whatever I do… it’ll be EPIC.

_DSC0655

_DSC0658

Bertie approves too ^_^

So, I’m back, knitting upon things that make me happy. I do apologize for my absence – I missed blogging!

Begin – zombie vixen mitts

_DSC0407

Because I have lots of classes, I cast on something – I deserve a reward, people. Even though I have lots of other stuff going. I did it because I could.

Fellow knitterly-blogger, Amy of Knit, Purl…wait, what?, posted a picture of some fingerless gloves she was making on Instagram, and I was absolutely smitten. I had to make a pair.

So I picked up a skein of Cascade sock yarn at Yarntopia while I was at work, and cast on ^_^ How could I resist the purple? It was calling my name!

It’s the “zombie viXen” by Susan Claudino (free pattern on ravelry, woot woot!)

Lots of little cables, such an interesting knit. I’m trying to justify that I did cast these on, with the fact that I’m learning a new skill – cabling without a cable needle.

This is turning out to be more unsettling than I was expecting. With the little stitches and needles, when the stitches have to kinda just sit there and be moved… I get nervous. But! No big mistakes yet, I’m determined to master this skill.

_DSC0408

Bertie is obviously a huge fan. Obviously.