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 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.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Week From Heaven and Hell

I can not even begin to describe to you what a strange emotional roller-coaster this week has been.

We bought a house...Yeah!

A really good friend passed away.... :(
Sincerely one of my favorite people on this big blue marble. I will miss him terribly and he will be one of the first people I look for in my next life.
Rest in Peace my <3 br="" found="" here.="" i="" know="" little="" you="">
Chemistry final (I did fine, but the day after you have your own personal Irish wake for your favorite Irish boy is not a day to think about molarity of solutions
... :/

Still dealing with car problems... :/

Got 2 pattern submissions accepted.... :D

My first pattern ever in Interweave Knits was published today.... :D
You can find the pattern here
It's called the Trieste Cardigan and I just added some more photos from the set I originally made and should be adding some more photos soon. The colors that Interweave selected don't show a lot of contrast in the pictures.

I was also published in another international bilingual magazine today... :D
My friend Kate got an artist feature in VOLUP2's August issue. There is a painting of me in the group.
*DISCLAIMER* There are graphic nude photos in this magazine, so you've been warned.

Dan got water spilled on his phone, so we have to go get him a new one... :/

It's really been a dizzying week and will definitely be one of the most memorable.

Here's hoping next week is slightly less crazy.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Field Trip

Yesterday my Chemistry class took a trip to the PMA textile archives and analytical labs. I love behind the scenes stuff so I was geeking out for pretty much the whole trip. We got to see the vault that houses the museums 30,000 piece collection. I even got to see Grace Kelly's wedding gown, which unfortunately has not aged well. It was placed on a poorly size bust form and the extremely fine antique lace in the bodice was damaged. Such a shame. We also got to see a collection of Victorian Miser Bags that will be set up in the Pearlman Gallery soon. I did remember to take pictures of them...unlike everything else. I suck at taking pictures when I'm out, guess I just like to experience in real life and not so much through a screen. These bags are so cute and clever. I think I'll design one for myself when I magically have time again. Maybe make it so it could be worn on a ring or wrist strap for hands free carrying.

This trip has once again inspired me to want to work in a museum, my fastidious attention to detail would serve me well in that kind of environment. Unfortunately that would require yet another Masters degree on top of the one I'm working on and traveling out of state for school since there are no local programs. Finishing 2 Masters might mean I could be finished by the end of the decade. I haven't mentioned this to my partner, mostly cause he'll ring my neck if I say I want another 2-3 year of school on top of the 2 more I still need. So it's in the pipe dream pile for now and we'll see what happens. I also want a farm with Yaks and Sheep, so I'll just see which one life pushes me toward and go with it.

Speaking of my Masters program, I just finished my first class. I had to spend all weekend making this...

Part of the fabric is machine knit, but it was hand sculpted and assembled. It took a long time and will now sit in a display case for a semester and then come home and collect dust. I hate projects like this, but it's definitely an goal achieved. Two more classes to finish and I have a few weeks off to enjoy before the summer is over.

The best part of that is I will be enjoying it in our new house. T-minus 6 days till closing and 9 days till move in. I can't wait. My house looks like a bomb dropped on it and I can't clean till things are moved and ack!

With all the fore mentioned going on Tour de Fleece kind of fizzled out for me. I finished 3.5 skeins and only spun from my stash, so that's enough of my goal achieved to make me happy. Hopefully more peaceful spinning will commence in my new backyard toward the end of next month.

Oh..and my car is finally being repaired.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What a week!

So on the 4th of July my car was struck while parked by a tractor trailer.
The guy was caught, police were called, pain in the butt, but all could be fixed. No big deal right? ....wrong. My insurance company has been giving me the run around for almost 2 weeks now saying they couldn't find the drivers insurance info and that I had mysteriously taken my Collision coverage off when I took my Jeep off my policy... yada yada yada. The key point in that last statement is I have never owned a Jeep in my life. 0_o This morning I had had quite enough of this and made some phone calls, found the claims agent for the truck driver and got an assessment of my car scheduled, all without the incredibly rude help of Progressive Insurance Co. I will be transferring my insurance post haste and am very relieved my car will be operational again soon.

Now on to the good stuff. All the a fore mentioned annoyance has made spinning virtual impossible time wise this week.  I managed to get most of one bobbin finished during the week and wrapped it up on Saturday and miraculously finished the second bobbin that same night despite haveing frequent stops to rest my knee and pack for the move that is speeding toward us in just 2 weeks.
Yesterday I plied between more packing and tons of useless busy homework. Now I am not against homework per say, but when it has no educational value and just takes an obscenely long time I begin to be miffed by it's very existence.

I am actually totally thrilled by this yarn despite having only what could be described as lukewarm feelings for the fiber and the way it was dyed.

Results are 612 yds lace weight 2 ply from 3.5 oz Falkland Wool dyed by Winterhaven Farm.

I love it!

I think I need to design a shawl especially for it.

Oh, and in other cool news, cause this hasn't been the weirdest week ever. I started my new job at TimesPub and interviewed for a position at Huntingdon yarn mills, and a portrait of me my friend Kate painted is going to be in an international art and fashion magazine called VOLUP2.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tour de Fleece: Week 1

I have made a sad amount of progress so far this Tour and July is only going to be worse.
The pink and 1st skein of the blue are all I've done for the Tour 14oz total
Between school and work for the next month I am pulling doubles for a a better part of the week and those days that aren't doubles are late days in general (done at 6-7pm). By Saturday I may collapse, but I won't be able to since I still have packing and homework to do on the weekends. Settlement for the new house is on the 30th and we plan to move in that weekend. On top of that my car was side swiped on the 4th by a tractor trailer, jerk hit 2 other cars as well.
My poor car!

I can't wait to hear from my insurance company...and for it to be August!

Monday, June 24, 2013


In further preparation for Tour de Fleece I have been trying to clear off my wheel and wrap up other projects in general. I finished off this skein.
Spinner's Hill 4.4oz/694 yds
Canned 17.5 jars of Mulberry Jam
I may never run out!

Add caption
Got 3 books from 2 of my favorite authors and read both the Neil Gaiman books within 20 hours. Working on Joyland now, but should finish it before the week is out.

Today I also managed to have time to groom my rabbits, no pictures of that. I will say that you should all thank your lucky stars I never went into Cosmetology.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tour de Fleece 2013

It's almost that time of year again! Tour de Fleece will soon be upon us and spinners will once again take to their wheels to create beautiful yarn from fluffy tufts of fiber. I'm on 3 teams this year, Kromski, Spin Your Stash, and Tardis. I will also be posting my daily progress here.

Now I just need to decide what to spin. Here is what I've pulled from the stash.
From top left, Red Louet wool/silk 8oz, Blue/green/purple w/ bobbin Dancing Leaf Farms Mermaid probably about 6 oz left (started spinning this before last years tour and haven't gotten back to it, so this is going right back on the wheel as soon as I'm finished the last 2oz of what I'm working on). Pink 8oz from a sheep named Sparkleberry also from Dancing Leaf Farms, she is a 50% coopworth and 50% romney, the purple with green is Winterhaven Fiber Farms Falkland wool 3.5 oz in colorway wild violets, the large purpley ball on the left is some Coopermoose fiber, it's wool, that's all I remember. The whites, grays, and black in the middle are my luxury fiber blends, there is some merino/yak (left gray), silk/yak (right gray), merino/silk/yak (middle gray), merino/cashmere/silk (white), and alpaca/silk (black). Since I have such small quantities of each of these I'm going to do some plying together, not sure which with which yet. The braid is 4.1oz of mohair from Sheepish Creations that I have no recollection of buying what-so-ever! And lastly 4oz of Happy hippie Soy silk in colorway Age of Aquarius.

There is also 3lbs of fleece upstairs that is partially carded....

I think that's more than enough and I'm also aware that I am mildly delusional in thinking I can finish all this in a month. Might as well dream big though. And this would mean I could reduce the stash by 1 tote.

I think it's safe to say that I have officially reached SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy), maybe if I never bought anything ever again I could get through it all, but I don't see that happening. So, I shall boldly go forth into this Tour de Fleece with lofty aspirations and possibly a stiff drink.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think should be priority in the spinning pile.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Spinning along

Life has been really productive since returning from Italy. This past Sunday I had another fortuitous meeting and picked up some freelance graphic design and tattoo work from a local shop owner.

 I've quit smoking by using an Ego-v vapor cigarette. So I technically haven't stopped using nicotine, but that's not the part of the cigarette that kills you. My lungs already feel better. 

I have an appointment tomorrow to discuss design options for this new yarn partner.

Oh, and we're buying a house. It came up rather suddenly that we were able to do it, looked at a house the next day, put in an offer and the second offer was accepted on Sunday. The inspections should be done this week, but assuming all goes well we'll be making settlement in about 60 days. It'll be so nice to be building equity as apposed to paying rent. The house has been really wonderfully maintained and has everything we were looking for except hardwood floors and a fireplace, but we can work on that.

And a little spinning thrown in during my free time.
Top: 4oz Delly's Delight Batt purchased at Rhinebeck, 70% wool 30% angora
Bottom: 4oz Tempted roving 85% mixed BFL 15% tussah silk

The color is way off in this photo, but I am not going near the adobe creative suite if I can help it.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


So we've established that I'm really bad with keeping up with the blog, I'm over it.

Italy can be summed up in one word, bellisimo!
This trip was the polar opposite of my last trip to Italy in 2007. Since it was for school it was go go go and my feet severely suffered for it. Saw all the standard touristy stuff, Vatican, Pantheon, too many churches to count, the Bourghese and Barbarini Galleries. There was weeping over the beauty of the art and the collected worship over thousands of years that has taken place. Unfortunately I don't have that many photos to show you because my phone was pick pocketed on the subway by some thieving gypsy children (luckily my plan was up and I was able to replace it for $1 when I got home, and I had set a passcode on it when I got there so they didn't have access to any of my info). I did take my iPad out with me 2 days after that, so here are a few shots from those days.
From the top, Villa d'Este which is a world heritage site, Haydrian's Villa built in the 1st century bc, The Ecstasy of St. Theresa by Bernini, and Hali and I at Villa d'Este.
On top of this being a well organized if not totally exhausting trip, the group was great. We pretty much spent all semester not talking to each other, in all fairness it was a ten am lecture class, so not much talking was involved in general, but I didn't expect us all to get along so well. It was a great time, there was bonding and definitely some lifelong friendships made. We are planning to do regular dinners and I would like to try and do a regular travel adventure with this group again, maybe a ounce a year thing. I figure I'll broach it at the first dinner and see what everyone thinks.
It was the best travel experience I've had to date and I can't wait to travel more. Now I just need to finish graduate school and win the lottery. 

Heard back from the woman I met last weekend and they want me to do a knit shell for a yarn that is coming out soon, hopefully meeting with her on Wednesday to discuss the details.

Oh, and we're buying a house...hopefully...first offer is on the table and we're waiting for them to counter offer. Keep your fingers crossed.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I was good

I finished my plying before starting on the pretty new roving.
Approximately 4 oz of wool angora from a Delly's delight batt bought in Rhinebeck last fall. 

Sometimes your day doesn't go as planned

But in a good way, mind you. I started Grad school this past Wednesday and part of our assignments is to keep a sketchbook with ideas and inspirational photos.  Now this is not at all how I work. The only reason I sketch is to get an idea down that I don't have time to work on right that second, but usually just putting the name of the idea on a to do list is enough to keep the visual image active. I also have no magazines in the house which I am willing to cut things out of, so this morning I started hunting around on Craigslist looking for free magazines and stumbled across a post about some knitting books for sale. There where 2 on there that I wanted so I sent out an email and planned to pick them up in the afternoon. I ran to my local thrift store which luckily had a ton of National Geographic, also scored a cute top and a black pencil skirt that actually fits properly.  Found a local yard sale that had a small bookshelf that I can use in my bedroom. I took Spencer with for the car ride, which he absolutely loves. Flapping dachshund ears are so cute!

Then I was off to pick up the knitting books, turned out to be a very fortuitous meeting considering Beck works in the financial aide office at my Grad school, but also does work for Made in America yarns who happen to be looking for designers for their new yarns. She is going to talk to them about brining me on as a designer, whoot! I also ended up buying some BFL/tussah silk roving from her and she hooked me up with more magazines, some knitting and some that I'll use just for images. 
Honestly though, I don't know what to do first, I'm not used to having so much free time with so few pressing deadlines. I suppose I'll be a good spinner and finish plying the singles I finished last night.....but I really want to start spinning this...and I want to finish my Seaglass shell...and I want to card my fleece....ack. This is why I prefer deadlines. I'm never short of ideas for projects and deadlines make me finish what I start better than anything else, even self imposed deadlines.

Tomorrow I'll talk about Italy, I promise. <----example of said self imposed deadline

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Demo derby & MDS&W

I know Maryland Sheep & Wool was a couple weeks back, but things have been hectic here and I have a few blogs worth of posts to catch up on. So bear with me over the next few days while I get it together.
The first weekend in May was very busy. On the 4th my friend Dave was competing in a Demo
Derby up at the Pagoda Motorcycle club track. My favorite reason for going is that Dave can't drive to save his life. He even managed to clothesline himself on one of the inner wall barriers.
So Saturday was a fun in the sun with mild drinking involved.

Sunday we drove down to Maryland sheep and Wool. My forthcoming Rome trip made my budget even tighter than usual. I ended up with only half of a fleece and enough Queensland Sugar Rush to make a cami. I really love this green and it was a bit ironic that it almost exactly matches the color of the cami I made to go to Rome and that was never seen again after the airline permanently lost my luggage.
I washed the fleece several times before I left for Rome, but it was not completely dry so I didn't have the opportunity to start carding until yesterday, worked on it for 2 hours and it feels like I didn't make a dent. this is gonna take a while.

Fleecy fleece
Puffy little rolags
Tomorrow we discuss Rome.