Tour de Fleece 2014 comes to a close…

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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…

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

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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

Spinning and Knitting Goodness

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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.

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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

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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?

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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!

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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…

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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!

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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 ^_^

Hat-A-Long Hat #2: Bad Wolf

Heres my next hat! I cast this on on October 1st, took it with me to school, then finished it on October 2nd. So, technically, this was my first hat ;-P

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This is the Sugar Maple Hat by Katie Mack, which is a free pattern (wooo!). Its such a great pattern – its just a basic hat, with all the math done for you, haha! It also has so much room for modifying it and making it your own. Maybe a cable, a couple rows of lace or colorwork. You can use crazy colorful yarn and let it do all the work! Or you can use handspun (which is what I did) and bask in the glory of knitting with your own handspun.

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This fiber I spun right before school started back up, and I spun it in about day, haha. The colorway name is Rose Tyler from Woolen Mills St. Yarns. Heres the blog post I wrote about it! . So, because of the colorway name, this is my Bad Wolf hat.

This was kind of a spontaneous project, haha! I was headed to my girl’s small group with the A&M RUF group, and didn’t have anything small that I really wanted to knit on. So, I grabbed this skein, caked it up in about 5 minutes (hallelujah for swifts!), grabbed the needles read the pattern, and left!

Its super simple, but that way the random striping can shine.

Another really amazing “cast on, knit a couple hours, bam! You’re done!” hat… Perfect for Christmas knitting!