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!

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!

Bolt and the summer

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So, I said that if I didn’t post after my finals were over, I had probably been eaten or something. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case! Two big-o trips happened very shortly after school ended, which did result in much knitting time… but not the best for taking pictures/editing/blogging, haha.

I am home now. And will be for awhile. I have summer plans, it’ll be a busy summer. But I am back ^_^

But to slip back into the flow of things, just like old times… Heres *one* of the things I’m working on right now d^_^b

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I’m doing a KAL with Marie from the Frogged Designs! We’re knitting the Bolt shawl by Veera Välimäki! We cast on on May 19th, and its been so much fun to knit! Its completely garter stitch, which makes it perfect for school knitting (in Marie’s case ;-P) or travel knitting or Bluegrass competition watching/cheering on friends who are competing (in my case :-P) (more on that later!) We don’t really have a time frame, so feel free to join in! #boltKAL

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The yarn I’m using is Brooklyn Tweed’s LOFT in Old World (the navy) and Woodsmoke (the cream/super light brown). The first wedge and first stripe was done while I was somewhat distracted by something (I can’t remember what, but it must have been important, haha!) and consequently, put the one stripe on the wrong side. Except I like the way that looks, actually, so I didn’t worry too much about going back and changing it, heehee. I’m not sure if I’ll the rest like that, but I’ll figure it out when I get there. Theres a chance I might make the same mistake again, and end up doing it on accident, haha!

This will also be put towards my Stash Dash 2014 count. Which I don’t have anything uploaded or photographed yet, but I’m getting there! I have a pile of things that need to be washed, ends woven in, buttons sewn on, a couple rows left to be knit… I’m super excited about getting things done and being able to use the items ^_^

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So yes, I’m back. I’m knitting. I’m blogging. I’m working. I’ll be taking some online classes (both for actual school and for fun ^_^). And I’m excited for everything that summer holds for me.

(ALSO! TOUR DE FLEECE IS COMING..!!)

Spirited Away became a Brickless

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I started something with my Spirited Away skein from Gynx Yarns, I got a couple weeks ago d^_^b

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I picked Brickless by Martina Behm . Its perfect (as are all her patterns!) for variegated yarn.

Ever since Brickless came out, I really wanted to make one. Didn’t know what yarn I wanted to use, and didn’t really have the time to devote to finding the perfect skein, haha! But after a little thought about what to make with my Gynx skein, it became obvious what it needed to be.

So, either this past Thursday or Friday, I cast it on. Took the plunge and jumped on the knitterly band-wagon. I can’t say no to that knitterly band-wagon. Its just gotta happen.

This was the knitting that I brought with me on the RUF (Reformed University Fellowship!) Fall Conference that happened over the weekend. Best mindless knitting ever! The colors were (and still are!) making it continually interesting, then the different textures in the pattern. It was not boring, but simple enough to work on during the four messages that were given while we were there.

Going to Fall Conference was kind of a last minute decision, but holy cow, I’m so glad I went! It was so amazing! Lots of friends, chatting, hanging around, listening to really amazing and encouraging messages, worship with several RUF groups from other Texas colleges, knitting (obviously d^_^b) and just wonderfulness. Oh, and an epic dance party combined with the A&M vs Ole’Miss game, which led to a (rather stressful, haha!) win for us Aggies, which then led celebrating in all the traditional Aggie ways.

It was epic. I’m so glad I went – I can’t wait for Summer Conference and next year’s Fall Conference ;-P

Hat-A-Long Hat #1: Snowdrift

Its October! What?! That means that Christmas knitting is well underway… or it *should* be, haha!

I haven’t started.

Which is kind of setting myself to frantically race against the clock (like always. I always seem to do that, haha!) to get something done before midnight of December 24th. That not working out, so I stay up till the wee hours of the morning of December 25th finishing and wrapping items. Then often times giving gifts still on the needles.

But its the thought that counts, right? Right!

What I’m hoping will help me is the Hat-A-Long KAL that Diane of the Knitabulls Podcast is doing (I know I’ve said this before, but her podcast is one of the bestest out there! Go watch it!!)

As of today, I’ve knit four hats. One of them is secret knitting, so I can’t show you guys just yet. But this is something to make knocking out Christmas knitting a little easier ;-P

Here’s hat #1! (these aren’t in any particular order, haha!)

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This is Snowdrift by Alex Tinsley ! I’ve had this pattern for about 2 years, but never got around to knitting it. Why, I don’t know… its one of the best patterns ever! And I’m about to tell you why…

1) It uses up stash yarn super easily. Bam, there goes that languishing 100yds you had lying around. Bye bye!

2) its knit on size 10.5 needles. And on a 16″ cable, it goes even more quickly.

3) the yarn is pretty adaptable… but using the bulky like it recommends. it’s just the best.

4) if you put reasons 2 and 3 together, you get some pretty speedy knitting! I knit this hat in about 3.5 hours. Yep, that’s it. Cast it on during a class, left it… worked on it the whole car ride back to Houston (which is about an hour and 45 minutes ish) then did the last two decrease rows later that night. BAM!

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If you’re looking for super quick knit… you need to knit this.

I used a little bit of my left over cake from my Long Sands cardigan. Its Cascade Eco Wool in the Gun Metal color.

More of my finished hats coming d^_^b

Moving forward with Betiko

School is crazy! And I haven’t been feeling super passionate about what I’ve been working on recently… but that is going to change! My knitting mojo will return soon, I’m sure :-)

I’ve also gotten really behind on my tv shows, haha. Project Runway being one of them… and I had heard that there was some crazy drama going on, and I really needed to see it. So, I finally caught up last night! Except for the one that aired this past Thursday, then I’ll be caught up :-P

So, while catching up, I decided to take a break from the MKAL project and work a little bit on my Betiko!

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I brought this with me to campus on Friday to try and knock out those 22″ inches of the striped strip thing… haha! And booyah! I accomplished those 22″ inches. Therefore, I got to start on the body!

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My goodness, it was confusing getting started. But! After about 10 minutes analyzing the instructions (or recipe thing) and slowly figured out what needed to be done, haha.

After figuring it out, it was perfectly simple, haha! My super confusion was probably due to the fact that it was 1:30am and watching super intense and dramatic Project Runway episodes and wasn’t giving 100% of my attention to what I was doing :-P

The pattern, once figured out, makes perfect sense and its such an awesome way to go!

Its extremely customizable! You could do pretty much anything you wanted to that fit in the stitch count, haha! I didn’t want to do a particular stitch pattern, I was really interested in making one that is like the top picture on Lee Meredith’s website. But I’m positive that whatever kind of pattern or striping put into this recipe would produce something absolutely amazing!

Cranberry Muffins

A couple weeks ago, I was gifted a cook book of muffins from an extremely sweet friend (Hi, Erin! ^_^)! Haha, upon opening it, I was super excited, there were multiple ones I wanted to try out right then and there. I narrowed it down to one… went downstairs, determined I was going to make some muffins. And realized we didn’t have any flour at the time, haha.

Which is kind of imperative for muffins. And a lot of things, haha.

But, I eventually got flour, so the muffins could be made!

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I chose the cranberry muffins… which the recipe had you sprinkle parmesan on top before sticking them in the oven, for a more savory muffin; but you could switch it would with sugar. So, I went with sugar (because we didn’t have any parmesan ;-P) and hooooly cow, they were so tasty!

I also threw in some nutmeg and cinnamon, and it gave it a really nice fall-ish flavor (because fall can be a flavor? haha!) Also, I didn’t have the kind of cranberries it called for, so I just used craisins ^_^

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Super easy, super fast and super tasty! The book is called “Muffins: Tantalizing recipes for delicious muffins” from the Love Food series.

If you ever feel the need to just stop whatever you’re doing and make something (particularly muffins, cookies, or brownies) seize the moment! Stop, if you can, and just make something tasty. It makes things super happy ^_^

FO!: The Bubbles Slouch Hat

I finished a hat last week, but haven’t had time to sit down and take nice FO pictures :-P

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The Slouchy Bubbles Hat by knitshep

I saw one that Julie (Phoebejeebes99 on twitter :-P) posted on Instagram, and I decided that I HAD to make it, at some point… didn’t matter when. Just had to be made, haha.

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So, I did! Later, when we visited my sister and brother-in-law in Dallas for the weekend and we stopped by her LYS (The Shabby Sheep) and I got two skeins of Berroco’s Flicker in the Siegfried colorway.

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The yarn is super super soft – I really want to get more and make a cowl. Cause its gorgeous! And its got some sparkle d^_^b

The pattern was a bit fiddly though – if you’re new to cables, I wouldn’t suggest this as a beginning pattern. It can be a bit tricky keeping track of.

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It can be worn lots of different ways, haha. Its fun to experiment :-P

I’m thinking about putting a pompom on the end… but I haven’t quite decided yet :-P

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My wooly preparations for the cold continue on… and they shall continue to continue on. Because its just too much fun ^_^

Also, Diane of the Knitabulls podcast is doing a “Hatalong” during October. Which of course, I’m going to do, haha! So, I’m saving up the hats I want to now for later… d^_^b

Rosemary Cardigan ups and downs

Before leaving home, one of the things that was really sad for my mom and I was that we couldn’t knit together anymore! That was one of the things we both really loved doing together (haha, which is why we both learned together 7 years ago.. crazy how time flies!) whether we’re watching/listening podcasts, listening to audiobooks, watching a movie or a tv show or just chatting… that time would be gone!

So, we decided to have our own little KAL ^_^ Haha, and I’m sure this is the first one of what will be many :-P

We picked the Rosemary Cardigan by Cassie Castillo from the Fall 2013 issue of Knitscene. Both of us want to make almost everything out of that issue, haha. Absolutely adorable items, with really popular styles, colors, and textiles!

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Both of us have gotten pretty far, my mom is actually ahead of me, haha! She’s had a bit more knitting time than I have ;-P Both of us loved the one in the magazine that we got the same color and yarn that was in the pictures. Its Cascade 220 Heathers in the Liberty Heather color ^_^

But, I have a sad story with a really happy ending about this cardigan, haha!

So, this is what I’ve been taking with me to school to knit on during lectures, since its just back and forth with a couple decreases and increases. No problem! After about a week of working on the body, I was finally ready to divide for the fronts and the back, wooo! I did that early this morning (like 6:45, haha) while waiting for the bus. Got to school, found out my French class had been canceled (which doesn’t have any affect on the knitting, haha. But it was part of my day yesterday ;-P) headed to my Shakespeare class with the goal of finishing one of the fronts and maybe starting the second one.

That goal was totally accomplished! Almost smashed out of the park! When I finished the first front, with about 30 minutes of the lecture left, I thought “Hm… this seems a bit big… oh well. No worries. On to the second front!” Picked up the live stitches, went on my merry way. Got about halfway through the second front before class ended.

Stuck around on campus for a little bit, then headed home! Since I’ve been on top of all my assignments, I decided to dedicate my afternoon to blogging/knitting/reading/napping/happy things. So, I lay out my Rosemary cardigan on the floor to take pictures. Annnnd noticed something funny about it.

One side *was* a bit bigger than the other. Counted the stitched I had cast on. Looked at what the pattern said. And for some really stupid reason, I cast on *10 more stitches* than the pattern called for. I must have been really zoned out, haha. Anyway, I freaked out, texted my mom a picture and was like “I have to frog it *weeps*”

Then I tweeted about it… and Amanda of the OwlPrintPanda blog and etsy shop (her stitch markers are the best, I love mine!!) tweeted back and was like “Couldn’t it be a slightly baggy sweater?”

I got this tweet while I was taking a nap (which ended up being one of the best naps ever. I’m always amused by how naps and sleep become especially more precious during school, haha!), and when I read it.. I thought “You know.. I actually haven’t liked tried it on yet… Lets do that. Maybe it would be cute slightly baggy!”

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After trying to figure out a way to pin/clip it to myself, I found (to my great delight!) That Amanda’s suggestion was brilliant and it was adorable the way it was! Though it looks a little balloony right now, the ribbing keeps folding up. A little blocking will fix that :-)

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I ended up using three hair clips and one bobby pin (yep, I was quite surprised it worked, haha!) to attach it in order to take the pictures.

That was a bit long story, haha! But its now a part of the sweater, haha!

So, moral of the story: when you find out you have to frog something or re-do something drastic… consult your knitterly friends first! They’ll see it with a different eye and might be able to come up with a way to get around your problem without having to do the painful process of frogging ;-P