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:

20140317-140315.jpgAnd this:

20140317-140352.jpgbut I ended up with this:

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!

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!

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’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!