Quick post from the sky!

Disclaimer! I wrote this post on the plane right before vacation.. And then lost wifi for a week (which was not a bad thing). Stay tuned for part 2, and a spinning update!

IMG_0533.JPGTwo weeks ago, my husband asked me how I felt about taking a random vacation. We haven’t had one in quite a while, and it’s been a tough year emotionally. So, he picked it, planned it, and didn’t tell me until we were in the airport! All I knew was it would be warm and sunny..and that’s all I needed to know!

And right now, we are headed to Puerto Rico!!!!

I have to admit…and I know we all go through these times…my knitting mojo was on a break. I just started a new job (same organization but bigger job) which has been awesome and draining. My knitting-in-the-car time turned into catch-up-on-email time. I don’t know about you, but knitting does this zen-like relaxing thing for me and I’ve missed it!

So I grabbed my Arabella sweater for the trip. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know I’m a serious airplane knitter. I have finished the back of the sweater, and now I’m on the front. It is a great knit, but with fine yarn and size 4 needles, I kinda got in a rut. But I’m back. Even this time on the plane has been so nice and grounding, and in a few hours I will be sitting at the beach…getting all my mojo back!

I wanted to do a progress pic…but my connection just got wonky. I’ll add it to Instagram…and I can pretty much promise some more awesome Instagram shots throughout the week!

Spin and knit on!

Blog Hop Around the World!

Ok, this is fun!! Valerie, from Intricate Knits was asked to post in a Blog Hop Around the World, and then she passed the baton to me.

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The photo above is just one example of her beautiful work. I’ve been intrigued with her style and the beautiful complexity/original nature of her work. Needless to say, it’s pretty awesome to follow in this blog chain after her! Please take time to browse her site..it’s one to linger on and be inspired!
So here are the questions:
1. What are you working on?

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At the moment, I am on a break between sweater designs and knitting the beautiful Arabella Sweater. I love Brooklyn Tweed yarn and designs, and I also enjoy picking up great knitting tips from designers who have been doing this long enough to come up with amazing new ways to do simple things. I’ve also got a scarf on the loom from yarn that I picked up from Jamie at Cooke Creek Sheep Company. She sells beautiful fleeces that are skirted and washed and are wonderful for spinning. I’m working with some yarn from her farm to create a scarf pattern for her to use..let me tell you, the yarn is amazing for weaving and would also make incredible socks. And.. I’m starting to design a cabled cotton sweater for my husband..we will see how that goes! The photo below is my inspiration for his sweater..warm, cozy grey.

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2. How does my work differ from others?
In the sweater design area, I’m just getting my sea legs. One design is self published, my Alki Beach Sweater and the second will be published and launched any day now (stay tuned..squeeeee!) When it comes to spinning, I love, love, love spinning from a fleece I have washed. Sometimes carded, sometimes straight from the locks. It’s like free form art to me..and I am highly inspired by nature. While my work is unique, I think my motivation is also different from others. I work at a large non profit global relief and development organization, and I have a passion for organizations that take us beyond our own spaces…and into areas and lives that are so very different from our own. A few years ago I ran across an organization called Awamaki which is one of the best examples of sustainable development work in Peru..that happens to focus of women who are weavers, knitters, and spinners. All of the items I sell on my Etsy store go to support this organization. It’s one small way I can share my love for creating with my passion for helping others.
3. Why do I create what I do?
Like many fiber artists, I am very moved by the beauty of the world around me. I try to create based on the emotions and impressions that I’ve experienced through nature. That’s why so many of my blogging pictures involve hiking, camping, and kayaking. I see that, feel it, and want to bring it to life through another medium. I think that’s reflected more in the yarn I spin than anything else, but I’m starting to develop that ease of association with my designs.
4. How does my creative process work?
This depends on the medium. For spinning yarn, it’s often a burst of inspiration that comes from a scene outdoors. Walks in the forest, wild flowers, madrona trees, and unexpected bursts of color. For knitting, it’s a combination of trying to create a design that resonates with a place and then expresses that in a way that is unusual. In other words..I’m looking for something that I’ve never seen before..and then I add a twist. It doesn’t always work..I have a piled of designs that “seemed like a good idea at the time..!”
So now I get to pass the baton to a blog I love to read, Local and Bespoke. Here we go from Seattle to South Australia! Here’s a clip from her “about” page: “I live in Adelaide, South Australia. This blog is about making useful, one-of-a-kind things, mostly from local and recycled materials. It’s about growing plants, natural dyeing, spinning, knitting, sewing… and anything else that takes my fancy as the story unfolds.”
Come with me to check out Local and Bespoke as we blog hop around the world!

Spin and knit on!

Arabella Update (and a pro tip!)

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I wish I could show you a better progress pic of my Arabella Sweater but I can’t because I am camping and didn’t pack it all. I’ve finished the back piece and it is truly lovely..and a very enjoyable knit.
So here I am, in a tent again..enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and today is pouring with rain. Which is totally good..a nice relaxing day in the tent, even for Oliver.

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So, while this is a great knit, there’s also some serious row tracking going on. I thought I would use that opportunity to share with you one of my favorite digital tools: Stitchminder.

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It’s an iPhone app that has saved me tons of scrap paper and probably some sanity. In fact, because I travel so much it helps me stay on track on a project without too much hassle. A guy on a plane asked me one time what I was using because he had accidentally thrown away his girlfriend’s notes on a project, and he thought if he gifted her the app he might get out if the doghouse!!
Here’s how I used the example photo above.
The top row represents the 35 row garter ridge repeat.
The next row represents the 6 row cable repeat.
The 3rd row represents the amount of decrease rows completed.
The 4th row represents the row count for the decrease pattern.

Game changing stitch tracker, I tell ya! What are different ways you keep track of your stitches?

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!

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!

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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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!