Confessions of a first time swatcher..

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A few days ago I posted about going to Vogue Knitting Live this coming weekend (yeah!!!!), and I am excited to have prepared the first two parts of what I need for the class I am taking on sweater design.

The first was sketching the design. Check. Not a masterpiece, but an ok concept sketch. Second was doing a swatch. I am not joking when I say I have never swatched. Ever. That’s dumb, I know. But for the class I knew it would be necessary.

My yarn arrived the other day:

20140310-190109.jpg I knew I needed to go for it. I cast on for about six inches so I could test the plaid pattern. Within a few minutes I was so glad I did. I intended on the purple being the horizontal stripes and the green bring vertical. However, the purple all but disappeared into the grey as a horizontal stripe. I started over and did the green as the horizontal. In the picture at the top the purple is actually way more vibrant looking than in real life. So, I ordered another skein, one shade more intense. (I wish the camera was more accurate so you could see the shade I am actually dealing with.) Even my husband said it was a shame the purple got lost. But the photo shows what my intent is, so that’s good!

And I know my gauge. The pattern is reverse stockinette, and it’s cool how the purple doesn’t show on the stockinette side. My gauge was loose, compared to what the yarn skein said. Mine = 16 per 4″ and the label said 18 per 4″.

Final learning is that the hand sewn vertical stripes add a bit of tightness in the length of the swatch. Again, good to know before designing!

Almost ready for Saturday! I want to re-sketch the design and do my second swatch with the new purple.

But in between I have one more business trip, so I will have done serious plane knitting on my Aisance Cardi.

More soon! Spin and Knit on!

WIP Wednesday

20140305-163113.jpg I love this cardigan..called Aisance from Quince and Co. And I am so excited to be going to Vogue Knitting Live in a week and a half that I decided I needed a highly motivating WIP to get me through the next few days. I’m also traveling for work for the next week so I have tons of airport and flying time. Not worth the Jetlag..but hey, at least I will be productive with my travel time!

I’m a little bit farther than this photo shows:

20140305-161634.jpg And I am really enjoying the pattern. I often forget though..how long it takes to get through the top and shoulders of a raglan piece! Sometimes that part feels like half the sweater!

Wonder if I will be closed to finished by the 15th…any bets?

What’s your current favorite WIP?

Spin and Knit On!

Tarian Sweater DONE!

I don’t know whether to start with the “wooooot!” or the photo! This has been one of the most engaging projects I have ever done. Friends..meet the Tarian Sweater:

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I started it in December, then took a break. Not a super fast knit, but I learned some new stuff..like:

1. I can hang with a pattern that has single cables crossing at every stitch. (There was some doubt about that when I started).
2. I do not have second sleeve syndrome..I love sleeves!
3. I LOVE textured knits. I was not ever bored..at all.
4. My favorite new skill..short row capped sleeves!!! It’s a bit time consuming (think like turning a heel, but shoulder sized).

Yarn: Quince and Co: Lark, color: honey, skeins: 8
Pattern: Tarian Sweater This was published in Twist Collective, Winter 2013

Notes:
1. Quince and Co yarn is lovely..and it grows a lot after blocking. The sleeves alone are about 3 inches longer than what I knit. I knew that and planned for it, and the fit is perfect.
2. I did not do the waist shaping because the single cables have a stretchy rib effect. Clearly it doesn’t need it!
3. My dog was a tad jealous and wouldn’t let me photograph it! I can forgive him because I hadn’t washed it yet and he’s so dang cute!

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Spin and Knit on!

Fiber Friday: Little Giant & Moss Stitch

20140131-101055.jpgI am traveling this week, so I took an easy sweater for the trip, and since it’s SUPER bulky it’s moving along very quickly. The pattern is another Wool and the Gang pattern, Little Giants. I’m already done with the front and the back, and I can’t wait to do the sleeves and seam it up! Cozy!!! Plan on wearing it for the Superbowl! Go Seahawks!!
Until then, here’s a lovely pile of knitted goodness:

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Spin (and knit) on!

Mo’ Mojo please!

20140128-145434.jpgSo here’s the scoop. I am not one of those bloggers who takes amazing pix of beautifully perfect FO’s. You know, the lovely blogs we all look at for inspiration..things that remind us why we love knitting so much. Nope, mine’s the real life, dropped stitch, “oops that seemed like a good idea at the time” sort of blog. This is one if those real life moments.

I have been so excited about this sweater! It’s all been planned in my head, I wove in the ends as I went along, I even told my husband in a quiet, confident whisper..this could be the coolest thing I have ever made.

I had to knit the start of the sleeves to see how it would fall on my body. Then I tried it on. Oh. My. Gosh. Not enough words or awkward pauses to say how yucky it was looking!! I put it down for two days..but not away. Away means “to the place of objects that will never get finished but I can’t throw it out.” No, “away” is not good.

I put it on the floor this morning. Determined. I frogged the top, down to the sleeves, did a three needle bind off for the shoulders and started an arm. There’s hope..I tried it on and the fit was soooo muchhhh better. I think it has been saved, but now I will need to add a collar. Once I finish the sleeves, I will post it and ask for collar ideas. But here’s where we stand now..and imagine that it’s blocked.

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So yeah..welcome to my world of trial and error! And thanks for the mojo!

Send me some knitting mojo!

A while back I posted that I wanted to make a sweater out of handspun, preferably out of wool that I have processed. I’ve done a vest that way, but somehow a sweater seemed daunting.
Then I had a serious “aha” moment. I was focusing on spinning just one type of yarn for a sweater, and I realized that I have lots of single skeins from one-off spinning moments and experiments. And.. I had enough of one similar color family to go for it.

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Then I decided I wanted a simple, free form, artsy fartsy make it up as you go sweater. So I did a gauge swatch with size 13 needles to get a good drape (all the yarns are approximately Aran weight) and cast on!
I’m making a rectangle cardi. I’ll split for sleeves soon, then finishing off the back and sides, and do the sleeves as drop shoulder in natural cream colored yarn.
I processed and spun all of the yarns from raw fleece (except the one at the top of the pic with the shell beads spun in-I bought that roving and spun the beads in) and added sari silk and sparkle into the light purple one on the bottom.
Here’s a better close-up:

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So I’m thinking I can crank out the rest of the back this weekend. Can ya send me some love? A full cardi like this will be a major milestone for me!!

Happy Friday and Spin On!

Where Do you Find Inspiration?

20140120-061706.jpgRecently, Christina from Feel Good Knitting wrote a great post about something we all go through as artists…inspiration.  Which inspired me to think through that process a bit more.   For me, 80% of my inspiration comes from being outdoors. When I get too wrapped up in color wheels and techniques, I find freedom in watching how all the “rules” are out the window when it comes to beauty in nature. Random color schemes, uneven light and dark, diagonals mixed with solids..I feel completely free when I take in that kind of beauty.

But as we all know..freeform creativity does have an element of structure, but finding the balance between unplanned and something you would actually wear is a little trickier!

So…here’s a little inspiration sharing from my top five “go to’s” if I am looking for inspiration and ideas. There’s many more, but my hope is that you will share a link or two below as well. Here we go!

Pre #1. All of the blogs on my reader list, which is pretty much the same as my followers. I LOVE scanning my reader list and seeing what all of you are doing!

The next five, but not in order of preference…

1. The blog at Wool and the Gang  Why? They get it. They have an awesome ability to make simple become uber unique and edgy. They also support knitters from Peru and bring in their Crazy Sexy Wool from there. It’s a neat story..you should check it out. (Plus, any yarn that has “sexy” in the title has my vote!”

2. Quince and Company Blog  I go here when I just want to be captured by an updated version of classic beauty. Their wool is locally sourced from the US, and the colors and textures are just awesome.

3. Do Stuff! Lee Meredith (Leethal Knits) I intentionally linked to her recycled reconstructed sweater because it’s a perfect example of how brilliant and unique she is in her creative approach. I’ve done several of her patterns and have always enjoyed the way she puts them together.

4. Spin Artiste  LOVE this site for spinning inspiration! So much so that I am enrolled in her “Fibery Goodness” online course. Arlene highlights indie spinners front around the world and I am always filled with inspiration when I read those stories/interviews.

5. Fringe Association  Another beautifully put together that celebrates the amazing possibilities with knitting. Great subject variety filled with inspirations and current knitting trends.

Okay..one more! I just can’t help myself.

6. Knitted Bliss  I love her “Modification Mondays” as well as her blending in snippets of real life to her posts. It feels very personal, genuine, and inspiring. Great patterns too–a few have been on Knitty and her overall style is awesome.

Wow–was a fun share out!! Your turn, and Spin On!

Where’s Your Space?

20140116-074028.jpgThis subject has been on my mind a lot recently. Most of us have the “essential things” that we have to do each day–work, family, etc. while those are often wonderful things, those actions can be very outward facing.
When I think of people I know well, all of them have things they do that allow them to be more introspective and/or creative. But how do we honor that space for ourselves within the busy routines of our day?
The other day, a very close person in my life was overcoming a challenge to get to her space, her place to just “be.” I realized that even though my husband and I live in a pretty small condo, I have my place for reflection and creating in our guest room. But in my hurried moments, I allowed the space to become cluttered. The result of that was that I felt cluttered.
I spent a few hours last weekend doing a big sort through and brought my space back to life. Freshly spun yarn hanging on the wall, organized shelves, and room for yoga without fear of falling on my drum carder and impairing myself.
Sometimes seeing another person’s challenge and how it’s overcome can be the kick in the booty to look inward.
Do you have a place that’s just “yours?” Away from TV, tasks, electronics, and responsibilities? How do you honor your own time..or us that something that’s still on your to-do list? Take it from my lesson. The time to step back is rewarding in ways that you don’t realize until you are there.

Peace out and spin on!

When Knitting Meets Weaving

The other day I ran across a very cool book, cleverly named Kismet by Hill Country Weavers. I love my rigid heddle loom, and I have been looking for more ways to use it besides scarves. Kismet has it..here’s a pic of my first project (not a scarf, but a cowl!) which is a morph between two projects in the book (how kismet of me)!

20140113-200335.jpg So the body is woven, then after securing the ends I picked up and knit off the end to give it some stretchiness, which is perfect for a woven cowl. Finish the edges with a single crochet border (first time crocheting, mind you..there might have been a few bad words) and you have a Kismet Cowl!

And..then..I made some hats.

20140113-200633.jpgAll in all, January has been busy but productive. Next post..more adventures in spinning!

Spin on!

Final Awamaki Update for 2013

Wow! December flew by with tons of Christmas knitting, spinning, and creative work. My etsy shop was buzzing with lots of custom requests, so first..the update for giving to Awamaki. After I took out supply costs, this months giving landed at $242!! Total that with November and the year will close out with $354 going to support an amazing organization. Here’s the “Thank You” video they made for their donors this year. Take a look and you will see why I love this organization so much: Awamaki Thank You Video

More soon, but here’s a few pix of my recent productivity.

Rustic Swirl Yarn:

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Funky Handsun Hat for my daughter:

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And a peaceful spinning morning for me:

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Spin On!