Thursday, June 28, 2012

In Training

I've been trying to wrap up the pound of wool from Dancing Leaf farms for well over 2 months now. In the last week I got 6 more oz of singles spun and plied, making for a total of 10oz complete. I was thrilled to get so much done before the Tour starts on Saturday, but when the second skein was dried and placed next to the first.
They look like two entirely different color ways of yarn!  I was really hoping for a sweater from this lot, but until I see what the last 6oz looks like when finished I don't know it will make a good looking sweater. With any luck it will land somewhere squarely between these 2 and I can get some kind of gradient action going on. Going to start my Tour de Fleece project on Saturday. Hopefully I'll wrap that up real quick because the suspense of what I'll get from those 6oz is killing me.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Silly Wabbit

Smoke's new do!
I trimmed more poor, hot, English Angora today. She's been panting even though we move her crate into the best air conditioned room in the house. She actually didn't fuss about the whole ordeal too much, but I am glad I trimmed her nails last week. I got a small mountain of fur off of her and now she is having a happy little hippety hop around the living room.

I should not be allowed near furry things with scissors!
I'm sure she feels better though. And it will be mostly grown out in about a month.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Other pusuits

This semester I have been taking Photo II. I really enjoyed Photo I and the complex set of goals I have requires that I be able to photograph my work in an interesting manner. For the one series I just completed I am going to be putting together a small book on Blurb and may give it out as a gift for the holidays. If I get enough positive feedback I may even put it up for sale in their marketplace. The theme for this series is the relationship between the paths we create in nature and the leavings of man and how the become part of that landscape once habitation of the area has ceased. The image below was shot in Centralia, Pennsylvania, a town now mostly abandoned due to the underground mine fire accidentally set in 1962.
The second series I'm working on is of self portraits dealing with light and motion and will be completed by the end of next week, but here is a little preview.
In more fiber related pursuits, I have finished two more bobbins of the Mermaid singles and started a third, which I hope to complete by the end of the weekend.  If all goes as planned I will have another 800yards of plied and washed before Tour de Fleece starts on the 30th. I may even get the last 4oz completed during the tour along with my planned project.
The patterns I've been working on are coming along nicely. I just have to type two of them up. Get one off to test knitting and do a photo shoot of the other for submission. I have several other plans to work on after that. The big announcement has been revised and I am now seeking more financial support.
Hope everyone is staying cool and enjoying their weekend.
Well, off to go work on writing up my business plan and patterns.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Upcoming Competions

Tour de Fleece and the Ravelymipics are right around the corner and though I have bee considering my project for several months now I hadn't selected my teams until this weekend.
I choose Team Kromski for Tour de Fleece, makes sense since I spin on a Sonata and Team Knit Your Handspun since I will be knitting my Tour de Fleece spoils into the Spanish peacock shawl that I have been coveting for months.
I'm getting pretty stoked about it although I really wanted to have finished my other handspun by the time the Tour starts, I just don't think there will be time what with 1st summer semester wrapping up and second summer semester starting all at the same time. Maybe I'll get 4 more ozs done before then, I had an idea for a sweater design for it so the sooner the yarn is done, the sooner I can hide it from all of you until it's done :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Button Hunt

Today I went on a button hunt. I have some secret projects that I was having the worst time finding appropriately colored buttons for. Someone over on FB suggested I check out the Powerhouse, an indoor flea market in Collegeville, Pa. I used to live right around the way from there, but I never think of it when I need some random thing that I can't find anywhere else. I saw tons of awesome things that I need to go back for, like an earl 1900's portrait camera, the kind that takes the glass plates, and several antique skein winders, a walking wheel and 2 other wheels traditional style wheels, all of those needed parts though, so more of a project than I'm ready to tackle in the near future. Despite many lovely shop owners complimenting me on my sweaters they all did not have buttons in the right color and if they were the right color then they were the wrong size or there weren't enough. *Le Sigh!* I did find a drink strainer (bar tending do-hickey) and a darning egg for a grand total of $3.

Still on a mission to find these darned buttons I trucked on over to Doylestown to the extra large JoAnn's Fabric store and thankfully I found buttons...on the last rack I looked at. And a few magazines leaped off the shelf at me while I was there.

Happy Fathers Day to all the Dad's out there!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Fathers Day Card

I just realized that Fathers Day was coming up this Sunday and I hadn't gotten anything sent out to my step-dad who is currently working out in Arizona. So I made him a card. It's in the mail now and will hopefully only get there a day late, but it's hand painted so I think that makes up for the late. Plus he has a thing for Cowboys, so extra bonus points there.

I'm also gearing up for Tour de Fleece. The fiber I selected to work on is for a specific project that I was having a really hard time find yarn I wanted to use. The shawl I'm spinning for is the Spanish Peacock Shawl by Meg Swansen, I saw this absolutely gorgeous interpretation by MandaKR and simply had to make it. I have it qued up on Ravelry with some mohair lace weight my ML gave me, but it just wasn't speaking to me, ya know what I mean? So when I was down at Maryland sheep and wool I fell in love with a sample shawl (not a great pic, in person it is very impressive) at the both Fiber Optics. I loved how one color blended into the next yet you didn't get that stripey impression that often occurs when variegated yarns are paired with lace patterns. I didn't buy any of her fiber, but did hit up Cloverleaf Farm's Stand. And pick up these six 2 oz puffs.  I plan on spinning 4 bobbins of single composed of 1 whole color and half of the center color, then plying the matching pairs together to get a continuous grading effect. I am a little concerned now that the variegated purple on the left my be too cool for the other colors. We'll see.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Reviewing and Teaching

I am normally a very fast reader, but the book I just finished dragged a little bit for me and since it is knitting related I thought I’d give you a quick review.

The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design (How to Keep Your Knits About You) By Shannon Okey and published by Cooperative Press, a great little indie craft publisher that incidentally is up for a huge grant opportunity and could use your help voting here. You have to log in with Facebook, but totally worth it to support a small-scale craft publisher.

Shannon’s book was awesome and informative up until the point where the Designer Interviews took over about halfway through the book. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of useful personal experience in the interviews, but there was also a lot of repetitive or common sense info that made it hard to truck through the last hundred pages or so. I have a number of pages market for useful information that I need to reference on the intranet and I’ll probably spend the next few days researching all of these.

One of the main sources of revenue most designer’s site in the book is teaching and yesterday I gave my first private spinning lesson. Well, let me clarify that as my first lesson to someone I’d never met before and for which there was monetary compensation. We met at a coffee shop that was midway between us, a cute little place called Java’s Brewing and they were super nice! They even let us use their downstairs meeting room, I’m thinking future meeting place for a knit group….Brenda...

The lesson went really well and at the end Lauren had a little ball of handspun yarn to be proud of…and hopefully coax her husband into letting her purchase her own wheel. He seems rather obstinate to the idea though. We’ll see.

After returning home, I got an email alerting me to a job opening that is right up my alley. I don’t want to jinx it so I won’t say anymore about it until I hear more. So wish me luck!

Friday, June 8, 2012

1 Skein Down

Yesterday I finished plying the first skein of Mermaid yarn. Ended up with 424 yards of lace weight so once I have all 16 oz spun I should have about 1700 yards. I queued up a few patterns that I'm considering on Ravelry, numbers 719-723 if you'd like to have a peak and put in your 2 cents about what I should make.

I just hope I can get the next 12 oz spun up before the the Tour de Fleece starts on the 29th. I have my project ready and waiting.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A little light reading...

I don't get much time to read for pleasure while terms are in full swing, so I've be gathering up all the books I want to get through by the end of August.

They have now taken over my night stand and not pictured are the Anthropology and Religion Textbook I'm reading for my online class and one of Shannon Okey's books. Bonus cool points if you can guess which of her books I'm reading.

And I just thought of 2 more that need to be added to the pile...better get to it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Spun out

This morning I woke up really early (5:30am) in order to go shoot my last 2 rolls for photo class. There's something about dawn light and the way it creeps up on things that is really fascinating.

So I had big plans to get many more interesting things done today, but what can I say, I got severely side tracked. So lets go with the short version and say the day didn't go as planned.

On to the juicy fibery bits!
2oz of Mermaid roving
Mermaid singles 2oz each bobbin
Over the past few weeks I've been working on some singles from this lovely roving procured with a Christmas gift certificate from Dancing Leaf Farms. The colorway is mermaid and let me tell you this stuff is a dream to spin! I haven't even had to draft it out at all for a lace weight singles.
I'm in the process of plying the singles now and the colors have become much more muted than I originally anticipates, of course the picture of the plied yarn looks very vibrant I just happened to take a picture with the largest portion of the brightest blue showing. Of course that's always one of the most fun things about spinning for me, seeing how the colors blend and play with each other. I can't wait to see what the whole skein looks like and be able to estimate how much yardage I'll get out of the entire pound. I was thinking a sweater, but we'll see.
Mermaid lace weight 2ply
That all being said I think I may be venturing into fiber arts in a more in depth way than just designing patterns. I'm in the process starting a small business venture, but I'll share more about that when there have been more concrete steps taken.

Until then stay tuned for the big announcements.
The text says Trust In Faith

And just for my tattoo fans out there, here is my work from Friday. Not my particular style, but he is thrilled with it and that is always one of the best part for me.