Knitting in Pieces

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Okay, this is a strange thing to admit. For YEARs, I thought I didn’t like seaming. I avoided patterns that weren’t knit in the round. Big flat cardigan pieces were okay too..especially if the sleeves were drop shoulder, picked up stitches and knit in the round to to cuff.
Then I took a design class at Vogue Knitting Live, and we focused on based set-in sleeve (gasp) crew neck sweaters. I have avoided set-in sleeve patterns like no one’s business. Then I tried it and realized there are many cool advantages I have been missing.

1. Smaller knitted pieces fit better in knitting purses/bags for travel. (Like my “knitting on the ferry on my way to camping” picture above!
2. Smaller knitted pieces give a faster sense of accomplishment..
3. Seams are not hard. 😳😳😳 Check out this great tutorial
4. You can weave ends into the seams. I really liked that trick.
5. Seams provide a little more structure to the finished garment.

So there you have it..I’m converted! Still like my top down raglans, but this opens a whole new world of knitting fun!! How about you? Do you prefer knitting in the round or seaming?

Spin and knit on!

Channel Cardigan: Done!

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This might be my favorite knit of all time. Seriously. The knitting was an endurance race, not a sprint, but that’s totally ok! I shared with you a few posts back about knitting by my mom’s bedside before she passed away, and as I thought..this is like a cozy hug reminding me of some beautiful moments.

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The fit is amazing and I loved working with Shelter yarn. The yarn is a bit fragile to work with..if you pull it at all it breaks..but it does splice back together beautifully, which makes for fewer ends to weave in.

One of the tough things was finding a complimentary colored yarn to do the seaming. Once I found it the seams looked great..especially since the sewing yarn doesn’t really show..but a close match is still important.

I loved the pattern. Very engaging..and I didn’t feel the need (or distraction) to start another project. I think I finally got to the “ready to be done” stage when I was doing the collar.

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I wore it to work today (I know, it’s June..) and was told it looked like an Anthroplogie sweater, but with a custom fit. Sweet compliment!

If you like a detailed project for a sweater that will be a heirloom type garment, this is a great pattern for you. Here’s the link on Ravelry.

Enjoy! Spin and knit on!

Tools of the Trade

20140605-122812-44892962.jpg Have you ever debated for way too long about adding a tool to your supplies? You know, one of those things that seems like it might be awesome but you just don’t want to spend the money on it? For me, it was the skein winder. I can’t begin to tell you the countless hours I’ve spent winding yarn. Countless. And now I’m thinking differently about it because my kids are grown and I can’t coerce them into helping me…I love thinking about the hours they spent with their arms the width of the skein, squirming and trying to be patient.  Quality bonding time..that’s what it was.  20140605-123149-45109203.jpg It was this picture that pushed me over the edge. I wanted to warp my loom but couldn’t get motivated to wind the yarn. There are just so many other enjoyable things to do with that time. So, I bit the bullet and got the winder. Oh. My. Gosh. Game changer. Why did I wait so long?? Skeins wound in less than five minutes! In fact, I was so tickled, I texted this video to my (now grown) kids. Their response? Daughter: I see how it is….. Son: First giving my room to the dog and now this…. I feel replaced…. I love it. Seriously. Money well spent! Spin on!

Are you a monogamous knitter?

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I think I’m getting my groove back..and it feels good. One of the consistent things I’ve had to help me process my recent loss has been my Channel Cardigan . (I’ve just got to attach the collar and front band now. Full report when it’s a real FO). During the past several weeks I’ve realized I am much more of a one project knitter than a “mix it up” sort of girl. In fact, having several projects on the needles stresses me out, and I usually end up not liking one of them.

I do have a running wish list in my head though..of what to do next, and that choice is a constant battle! I’m really smitten with Arabella from Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People 7. What’s not to love?

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I am, however…NOT a monogamous fiber artist. Here’s the list of what’s going on in that world..Yoinks!
1. Two fleeces a-washing..
2. Spinning said fleeces…
3. A pattern in my head that needs to get out..
4. Warping the loom for a special project…

How about you? Are you monogamous in your creative pursuits or do you thrive with more projects going on?

Spin on!

When Knitting is Beautiful: A Reflection

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It’s been a while since my last post, and I’ve had a hard time gearing up for this one.

Today I’m not writing about how we create beautiful things, but why we feel drawn to it. Why creating with our hands and our hearts is nourishing to the mind and the spirit. Why there’s a peace that comes with the process that brings comfort and joy.

Over the past few months, I’ve mentioned that my mother has been battling cancer for three years. During the month of April, I had the opportunity to spend last few weeks of her life with her. The time we had together was filled with some of the most beautiful and difficult moments of my life, and I am so grateful for it.

Many of those moments, she would be asleep on the sofa and I would knit. Watching her breathe, praying for peace for her, sitting and thinking about the times we shared… I wouldn’t trade those quiet moments for anything. The picture above is a tiny glimpse of one of those moments. Her asleep, me knitting. Just silence, just us.

Knitting helps me to stay quiet and open during difficult times. When other things are beyond my control, I can take a stitch at a time and turn it into something beautiful..something forever bonded to the memory of that moment. When this sweater is done, I will always remember it for the time I had with Mom before she passed away..and for that I am grateful.

Knit on, my friends, knit on.

Next on the Needles…

It’s a bit ambitious, I’ll admit it..but I’m starting this:

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It’s the channel cardigan which is one of Jared Flood’s designs. I’m pretty stoked about it since I haven’t knit with Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter yarn yet, and I do love the rustic look.

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My latest “on the road again” pic..this time from a train heading down to Portland. Makes for very scenic knitting. I’m using the colorway “embers,” which is gorgeous. The yarn is very nice, beautiful tweed colors. However, it is a very fragile yarn..a quick tug and it breaks. I won’t use it for seaming, that’s for sure. (It does felt and splice back together well though 🙂 )

Have you done any Brooklyn Tweed patterns? Let me know your thoughts…I’ll be working on this one for a while! And when I get back home..an update on the amazing fleece I have been washing!

Spin on!

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My visit to Cooke Creek Sheep Company!

  

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     Most of you know that a year ago I started a quest to get my yarn as locally as possible and them learned how to wash it and process it, which led to this epic tale.  In the process of this, I really wanted to connect with a local farm that I could get to know and trust so that I could share stories about where the wool came from. I had some disasters along the way, because just showing up at a farm isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. I would research different farms, and look for ways to get a sample if their wool. All the things that you need to do when you live in a small two bedroom condo. I had sheep fleeces that were shipped to me that weighed more in poo than they did in wool, fleeces that were just low grade quality, and fleeces that were really nice. I learned that for the urban lifestyle, washing a full fleece at once can put your marriage on shaky ground. (just kidding, my husband is super supportive, but I do think he winced the first time he saw a murky brown mess in the bathtub!)

     All that to say, I finally found an amazing farm about two hours from where I live, so I visited last weekend to see where this awesome wool was coming from. 

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     Cooke Creek Sheep Company is run by Jami and her husband Larry and they are amazing, welcoming people who are passionate about what they do.  They are in lambing season right now, so as you can see from the top picture, (my favorite picture in the whole world), I got to hold a 4 day old lamb. I posted that pic on Facebook and one of my friends immediately added the thought bubble..which as quite appropriate.

     If you are looking to do the whole fleece thing, I can’t recommend them highly enough. And, if you are more of an urban spinner, I’m going to create test spinning packages for my etsy shop, so stay tuned. I’ll do it at cost and anything I add on for labor will go to support Awamaki like the rest of my products on the site. 

I’ll be starting that project with wool from this sheep..meet “Socks.”  He’s a Border Leicester sheep and I just started washing some of the 10 pounds of fiber I bought! 

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     As a final lovely picture, Jami also has yarn that she has from their sheep. It was from a similar fleece that I spun up last summer, and I was thrilled to see that the millspun looked like mine! Definitely a good confidence booster. It’s quite sturdy yarn, so I dyed it to create a weaving pattern for the farm. Here’s a sneak peak at the dye job:Image

     So, that’s a full post with tons of fun info! If your interested in learning more about the urban spinner packages I will be assembling, let me know below. 

     Have a great weekend and spin on!

 

Hey Urban Spinners!

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I have been doing a TON of knitting recently, mostly due to a crazy travel schedule. Last weekend though, I got some good wheel time in and it was so refreshing! I’ve spun my way through several fleeces this year and I’m on the last bit of my remaining one. The pic above is dyed with ferns from our local park, and the fleece is from a farm about two hours away. Talk about local!
On Sunday, we’ll be driving back from Oregon and will stop by the farm I order from for the first time. It will be great to see the sheep and pick out the fleeces first hand instead of ordering. Here’s a pic of what I have left:

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I have a plan, too..for urban spinners like me, so if you are interested in learning more about fleece processing, stay tuned. I’ll make the announcement next week!
In the meantime, I’ll be posting pix of the farm visit after Sunday. I heard a rumor some lambs have been born..can’t wait to see!
Spin and knit on!

Saturday Morning Daydreams

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It’s hard to believe I was at Vogue Knitting Live a week ago. The experienced itself was worth every penny, and now I am just thinking through all that I saw and learned. I really didn’t know what to expect, since I haven’t been to one of these events before. My motivation for getting there was the design class I took with Josh Bennett, which was outstanding. That was nine hours of the weekend, and I’ll share more about it in another post.

In the meantime, here were some highlights:

The yarn above. One is Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter. I was happy to buy it in person because I really wanted to see the colors and get a sense of the texture. It’s. Amazing. I also literally turned around and bumped into Jared Flood, the owner/founder of Brooklyn Tweed and an amazing designer. What a neat guy..very fun to meet in person. The other yarn is an Irish merino that’s tweedy, textured, and soft. I totally fell in love with it…and the color.
And then there was the gallery. Inspiring and weird! Check out this glasswork art:

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And this crazy thing..I think it scares me.

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But wait, there’s more. I’ll leave you either this short video. Watch ing people looking at this display was just as fun!


Have a great weekend! Spin and knit on!

Aisance Cardigan

20140317-140021.jpgSo much to update on the blog! I have stories from Vogue Knitting Live (it was awesome..) but today needs to be a FO day, because I think Mondays need that. 🙂

I had two cross country flights in in the span of 8 days which meant tons of knitting time that looked like this:

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20140317-140450.jpgAnd I love it! It was blocked and dried in time to wear to day 2 of Vogue Knitting Live and tons of people asked about the pattern. Here’s the scoop and why I liked it. Link to pattern: Aisance Pattern and I used cascade 220 heathers, which I really like in terms of affordable and wearable yarn. Not much pilling and the drape is great on a size 8 needle.

The design was awesome because you knit the ribbed collar along with the top down raglan, so it was interesting and I had about four ends to weave in when I was done. The long part in the front is short row shaping and the sleeves were simple and fast..and by then I was ready to be done.

Really enjoyable knit, but I gotta say..one of the most fun and practical cardigans that I have made! Definitely one of the longest cardis, that’s for sure!

What’s on your needles? Anything that’s a marathon project like this one?

Knit and spin on!