Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Back almost a month...

...and it has taken me this long to catch up and get back to the blog.

Japan was lovely, so very unlike any place I've ever been. The appreciation for all things great and small that permeates the very being of Japan's people is evident everywhere. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Here are a few photos. I'll actually have some knitting to show you by the weekend. Finally finished up a pattern commission since I've been back and another one is going live early next month. Stay tuned.
Cat, perfectly posing at the Inari Shrine

Even the tools craftsmen us everyday are beautiful.

Ancient Buddist Temple with modern day Kyoto in the background.

People still get dressed up, even if they are just going for a walk.

The Shogunate's palace.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Not much knitting going on

Been ultra busy with work lately, so my knitting has slowed to a snail like pace, especially since all I really am able to focus on when I do have time to knit is really simple things. I finished a Gap-tastic cowl a few weeks ago, no pictures yet, a pair of knotty gloves, also picture-less, and 2 pairs of plain toe up socks. These are my on-the-go socks and are much needed since many pairs sprouted holes this very cold winter. I will repair some of them, but right now it is faster to knit new ones.

 The reason I've been working like a crazy person and picking up tons of hours is I am off to Japan next Friday. I'm looking forward to the trip...the flying not so much. So in about 2 weeks there will be lots of pictures. In the mean time I still have to extricate my luggage from the storage room in the basement, pack, call credit card companies, bank, cell phone company, and a whole slue of other small errands that need to get wrapped up in the next 5 days.

I also just found out last Tuesday that we will be going to Italy to visit Dan's family at the end of May for 10 days. Tickets were bought today and I have to figure out who is going to house sit for the fur kids while we're gone. Its way easier than boarding everyone or shipping everyone off to different houses; we have too many pets for one person to take everyone. I will be calling on a few friends and hopefully that will all work itself out. One of my dogs gets separation anxiety when I'm gone overnight, so both of us being gone for 10 days will be rough on her.
I'm off to finish my laundry and relax for the rest of the night. Maybe I'll work on another sock.

Friday, December 27, 2013

New Patterns!

I was only planning to get one new pattern up today... I ended up getting 3 done. Yeah! Best part is all of these are designed with my handspun yarn, so you can either start by designing your own yarn or skip to a commercial substitute.
First up, Morgan. This was a really fun photo shoot, we found this decaying train on the way home from Rhinebeck and had to stop and explore it. More photos are up on Ravelry.

 Next Vite Scialle. Waves Shawl in English, this piece is light, delicate and perfect for everyday wear or a special occasion.

 And Baroque. These
 socks are made to pamper your feet in squishy merino handspun.
Thank you, Nicole, for being my long suffering model.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Post Christmas Wrap Up

I've been busy wrapping up the semester and wrapping up all my holiday knitting, as I'm sure many of you have also been doing. Now that things are unwrapped I can show you some of what I've been working on. 
First up, I found a lovely 2ply cashmere sweater at the Thrift store last month. It unwound into 2 enormous skeins of heathery blue gray laceweight.The color wasn't really doing it for me though, so I overdyed it this lovely teal.

While I had the dyepots out I decided to hit up some merino I had laying around and some silk. Here is the one I photographed and then promptly spun and plyed in one day.

245 yds of 3ply on the bottom and 60 yds of 2 ply at the top, you can really see the difference in the color intensity depending on the level of optical blending the number of plys provides.

Next up is Dan's purple socks, he has officially requested a ball pit full of purple socks (I shit you not, his exact words), so now for every holiday and occasion he gets purple socks...he has at least 10 pairs at the moment. I think I'll be releasing this particular pair as a free pattern withing the next week.

Dan's Thermals
And the crowing jewel of the holiday knitting was the In The Pink Stole I made for my mom out of the Shoppel Wool Lace Ball I bought in Vienna last year. I just love how lace goes from this...
To this...

 Turned out very nice, if I do say so myself. The knitting itself was very simple, the piecing together had me stumped for a minute, but ravelry came to the rescue.
Spencer is doing well, if not a might bit sleepy.

On my Christmas list this year where a lot of blank yarn and dye, so expect to see some interesting things up in my etsy store soon as well as a whole new slue of patterns that I've decided to self publish in the next 2 weeks that I have off from school...and am stuck in my house due to the partners car unceremoniously dieing 2 days before xmas. Luckily I don't have anywhere I need to go except one day of work till the 16th. So there will be lots of knitting and dying and publishing to talk about soon. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

We had a sick little Dachshund...

He's all better now, but we almost lost him last week to a very out of the blue case of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. We will now be selling kidneys to the highest bidder to pay for his 3 day intensive care vet stay, but we are very glad to have him home. The house just wasn't the same without him.
Mostly due to the fact that I couldn't focus on anything, I spent much of the week spinning this from the Meadow Maggots Braid I purchased at Rhinebeck. Despite it being a light fingering weight, it flew off the wheel and practically plied itself. I think it is destined to become a new fingerless mitts design...once i finish the dozen or so other designs I have in various stages of completion. 2 are completely finished and I just need to type up both and do a photo shoot of one and I can get them up. Hopefully over the holiday next week. I also think I'm going to self publish my thesis, which is a collection of really fun patterns.
466 yds Fingering weight from Meadow Maggots Braid
I hate being behind on all of my pattern work, but this semester has been surprisingly time consuming, due in part to one extremely time consuming class, but only 2 more weeks and its over!
Oh, and in one of my usual fits of lateral productivity I finally finished my studio.
I LOVE IT! So much room to work and I can see all I have to work with without having to dig through bin. Now if only I had a time turner so there where more hours in the day. I may have reach the point of my stash exceeding my life expectancy, but its still pretty to look at.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Falling Down at Rhinebeck

It's easy to fall down at Rhinebeck, (figuratively, not literally).
It is the Mecca of East coast Fiber festivals, and for those of us that go the pilgrimage is an important part of our yearly ritual.

I was relatively good this year, although I really should be allowed to attend fiber festivals with a credit card. Its not safe.

I only managed to get up there on Sunday this year, but it is usually the less crowded day.
This year I made a bee line to the fleece sale, since I knew many of the good fleeces would have been snagged on Saturday. I found two that where reasonably priced for their weight and that had attributes that I've started to recognize. I have only been processing fleeces for less than a year, so my knowledge in this area is still pretty limited. We hiked those back to the car, so we weren't trucking around 12lbs of fleece all day and started making our rounds.

You get to have favorite shops after a while and I always manage to find something I love at Spinners Hill. I really need to buy a sweaters worth at some point, but i always at least get enough for a pair of socks. Actually, had there been enough for a sweater in this colorway, I probably would have bought it.

Next up I found an interesting combed top that will do lovely things when spun. The colorway is Borialus, and all those large sections of color will blend in interesting ways.

I found this crazy gorgeous thing and couldn't walk away. Meadow Maggots is a blend of Polyworth, Bamboo, Silk, and Tencil. Again, enough for socks, but I think this would be a lovely hat or scarf, we'll see what it wants to be after its spun.

And here is where I really fell down hard. Spirit Trail Fiberworks. I fell in love with their Brite yarn last year, the drape and hand on this fiber are extraordinary. It is the absolute perfect blend of wool, silk and cashmere. I passed it up then because I had already blown through a large portion of my budget, but I regretted not buying it ever since. So I fell hard and told the woman checking me out not to tell me how much my total was. Not only did I get enough for a sweater, but 2 additional colors, for a possible yoke design on said sweater AND a skein of sock yarn in purple for Dan's birthday sock, which I designed last week and have been slowly working on. I might want to hurry up with that since his birthday is in two weeks.

The rest of the day was spent eating and perusing. I would like to say that I won't fall down quite so hard next year, but in order to do that I may have to avoid the Spirit Trail Booth...and wool fumes.

In other knitting/spinning news. Just finished another design the other week that will be out in the spring, WOOT!

Also I have yet to get good pictures of my Rhinebeck sweater, next post, I promise.

I finished spinning this. 1188 yards, lace weight from Bittersweet Woolery, bought at Jersey Sheep and Wool. It is lovely and shiny and going into my stash until I can find something worthy of its beauty.

How was your Rhinebeck?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New Jersey Sheep and Wool

Pretty much every year Benji and I go to the New Jersey Sheep and Wool Festival. For those of you that haven't been, it's a relatively small affair with two barns for livestock and two for vending, but it's a great start to the fall season. Deb was vending again this year and Tina from Bittersweet Woolery whom I really like were there as well and a first appearance by the Verdant Gryphon.

I have recently been tasked by my old roommate to make him a Clint Eastwood Poncho like in Fist Full of Dollars. So to cut costs I suggested that I get 2 fleeces and start from scratch. I found 2 gorgeous Shetlands at the festival and had one stolen right out from under me five seconds after the lady said the sale hadn't started yet.... :/
I grabbed another white fleece, which I'm not as happy with, but it will do.
Brown and white Shetland Fleeces
 I send this photo over to my friend to show him the colors since the brown originally looked darker in the barn, and he said that it being lighter was fine because it would take the green better. I said ....green? Isn't the poncho brown and white?
Looks brown to me.
 So apparently I have to dye this gorgeously multicolored fleece green :( I may end up getting him another one because the color variations in this wool are truly stunning. I already washed it and am waiting for it to dry before carding, although the lock structure is so perfect I could probably spin it as is.  I also grabbed the most lovely gray shetland for myself. It was a steal at $25 for 4lbs and has almost no VM whatsoever. I love it and want to do nothing but process it and spin it right this second...I am resisting though in order to complete other more pressing work projects.

 Last but not least is the pretty braid of Montana Sky in Merino Silk from Bittersweet Woolery. I really can't resist her pretties.

I am still working on designs  that I can't show you, sad face, I know, but I did finally get started on one of my Rhinebeck sweaters. I have 2 planned and we'll see if that happens considering one of my current designs requires the needles for one of the Rhinebeck sweaters. I have a sleeve a front done on the  cardigan, most of the second front done and the second sleeve cast on, I hope to finish that this week along with one of my submissions, but if I plan to do all that I better get back to it.