Last, but Not Least

I really do love being a part of the Three Waters Farm Ravelry Group because there is always inspiration, there’s always something happening. January and February this year — like last year — the group is doing an SAL + KAL focused on Susan Ashcroft, or Stitchnerd, Designs. Susan is a master of potato chip knitting patterns and they are often, if not always, written to be very adaptable. It’s an attribute that I really appreciate as a spinner who isn’t always perfect in producing the yarn in my mind’s eye. I mentioned my Stone House + Light Relief project earlier this week and while I do have another couple braids of fiber that I plan to spin and then knit into a Winterplay in February, I actually still had at least 2 yarns I’d spun last year specifically for some of Susan’s designs. Happy with my Light Relief finish, I hopped right into another project.

This particular project started here…

suumers-end
                                     Photo courtesy of Three Waters Farm

September’s Top of the Month Club colorway named, Summer’s End, on a BFL/Tussah Silk blend. It turns out that looking back this may just be my worst documented spin ever, unfortunately.

I have exactly 4 WIP photos.

One…

img_4455Two…

img_4462Three…

img_4717Four.

img_4718And then the trail of photographic evidence of this skein completely disappears. I think Spinzilla crept up right on the heels of finishing it and then I just forgot to take finished photos. Suffice to say, I chain-plied it. Of that I’m positive and I wound up with 235-ish yards, I think. Not realizing the lack of photos, of course, I wound the skein and started knitting without any. Whoops!

Anyhoo, after I printed the Yarn Optimiser pattern for which I spun this yarn, I’ll admit I was excited to knit away on it, but not as excited about the weighing involved. I’d been totally spoiled by the particularly ‘light’ brain requirements of Light Relief. I got going nonetheless.

yarn-optimiserI’ll admit that once I got going it was really kind of fun and fast. I was wary of the edges and how it could possibly block out evenly, but I carried on because aside from having to stop and weigh things now and then, it was just super easy and fun to watch take shape. As with my other Stitchnerd Designs, I was done in the blink of an eye.

yarn-optimiser-fo3And the blocking did mostly work out. I’ll admit that I rushed it a bit and there are some little peaks from the pins where I really should have used blocking wires. Yes, blocking wires would have been smart, but I was in a rush.

yarn-optimiser-fo2I may block it again when I’ve got a little more time (this was admittedly rushed), but I also may just wear it and not be such a perfectionist. Maybe? I think stranger things must have happened somewhere once probably.

yarn-optimiser-foSub-optimal blocking aside, I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It really is just as I’d hoped when I spun it and I think it was just the perfect fit for my purposes for this colorway. It’ll be just perfect for spring, I think. Summer’s End, Spring Beginning — either way, this one works for me!

And that, my friends, is that end of my parade of FOs. I hope it’s been as fun for you as it has been for me. Coming up, I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled (mis)adventures and sharing my projects as they slowly come to life. As you well know, there’s always something happening on my needles, wheel, spindles, loom, and…well, you know, life.

Snow, Yarn, Mud, Snow, Fiber, Mud, Snow

With the arrival of March, so starts the dance between winter & spring here. It snows. It’s warm and the snow melts. It snows. It’s warm and the snow melts. Physically, this is one of the hardest times of year for me. Preceding every  weather & pressure change, there are always aches and pains that really assault my poor hip and make it a delicate balance between needing to stay active & limber and needing to rest. Even with the two respectable snowfalls this week, the kiddos and I have soldiered on with our daily walks. We also took a very beautiful (and brisk!) walk with Mr. Knitting Sarah on his day off.

img_2441I simply love the stark colors. Through a wood and alongside a fast-moving, spring meltwater fueled river, it looked like a warm-ish spring day. In reality, the wind seemed to be sucking up the cold from the snow and the water and throwing it not just directly at us, but through us. Brrrrrrrr. It was still nice to be out and about though and we were rewarded with the songs of a few Chickadees and glimpse at an adorable Brown Creeper.

On my needles, I made a slightly manic dash into my brioche project, the Askews Me Shawl in Spun Right Round Squish DK. I was a little nervous about my planned color changes, so I really pushed through to the first one.

img_2473I have no idea what I was nervous about. This project is exceeding all my expectations. Period.

On my wheel, I had a really nice stretch during one of Mr Knitting Sarah’s days off where he took over the kids’ school day and I was able to spin.

img_2475And this morning I finished up my 4oz braid of Three Waters Farm Dirty Girl Redux. It took a little while to really get a good feel for the silk blend as I just haven’t done much with blends lately, but I definitely regained my comfort level before long. I’m constantly aware that I’m mighty short on time for the combo spin I have planned for this month, so I’ve been trying to squeeze in extra time for this project whenever I can. I’ll be prepping and hopefully starting the next 4oz after I shovel our latest snowfall. I could have the kids do the shoveling — they’d gladly handle it, but it’s Saturday and I’m just letting them play.

It was a pretty sweet week for yarn & fiber mail, too. First, I received my Three Waters Farm Top of the Month installment.

img_2447A gorgeous braid of Falkland in a colorway named “Spring Spirit”, I snapped a photo and then closed the box because I need to focus on my current spin in progress. You can bet your life that I’m thinking about this one though. I also just changed over my subscription to the Top of the Month from the wools to the wool-silk blends. Since the colors each month are pretty of-the-moment, I think the spring & summer colorways will pair nicely with some lighter, silk-blend spinning. The idea is to switch back to pure wools when autumn rolls back around. Plans are subject to change, but in my head at this moment it seems like solid planning.

I also got a special treat for Louet this week…

img_2464Louet is always so good to me! They asked if I’d have interest in working on any designs from their new Spring 2016 Collection and — of course — I could not resist the chance to work up a new piece in the lovely Euroflax yarn. It was actually a really hard choice for me, but in the end I decided on the Veleta tunic by Susanna IC. I’ve been a fan of Susanna’s work for years and it’s been far too long since I’ve knit one of her designs. Plus, look at how cute & unique that tunic is! I opted to knit it in Heron Grey — partly because I have a thing for colors named for birds, but mostly because I have a thing for a good steely blue-grey. The basic Cream will be the lace detail. I have to get through a couple bits and bobs before I can start this, but I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a fabulous addition to my summer wardrobe.

Well, the kiddos are happily playing outside, so I’d better get out there and finish up our shoveling. I’ve got a lot of chores to finish up today, but here’s hoping I can make some time to get some fiber prepped and knitting done, too. I hope you can find some time for your fiber arts project this lovely Saturday, too!

New Beginnings for March

I’ve been in a bit of a rush lately to finish some things up because I knew that March would be a deluge of new beginnings, spurred largely by a couple new -Alongs I’ve helped organize. Of course that means that once again I’ve got a stack of FOs that I need to share with you — a fact about which I’m definitely not complaining. Partly because some of them are still drying and partly because none of them have proper finished photos taken, I thought I’d tell you about the new things that have landed on my needles and wheel over the last couple of days.

First of all, a little over two week ago this beauty landed on my doorstep…

img_2346And as I’m to review the yarn, Reinvent by Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts, I was anxious to get it on my needles without too much delay. I did take my time settling on a pattern and then, upon finishing up some socks I’d been working on for my MIL this weekend, I got straight to work.

img_2444I settled on Artarktis by Janina Kallio and I’m extremely happy with the selection. I’m kind of at a point in the project where a really good quality photo is not all that easy to get, but rest assured when I say the yarn & pattern are playing beautifully together. I’m finding the combination almost irresistible as the yarn is nice and crisp in my hands and the colorway, “Kismet” is so very lush. When combined with the almost popcorn knitting of the pattern, setting it down has been almost too much for me.

But that said, March 1st has marked the beginning of two awesome new -Alongs I’ve helped to plan. I’ve been a tiny bit nervous that I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but I’m nothing if not willing to go for it when it comes to knitting & spinning. Even when time challenged, they are such an enjoyable release for me. This morning I got up early and the kiddos actually slept in, so I managed to get started on my two new projects for the two new -Alongs. What a fun way to start the day!

First, on my wheel, I’m participating in Three Waters Farm‘s Unexpected Combo Spin-Along this month. Basically, it’s a little challenge to take some of the beautiful Three Waters Farm colors and mix them up. I will say that helping to see color combinations is something Mary Ann from Three Waters Farm does phenomenally well and the group is equally as skilled. I’ve always been a little challenged in this department so I’m staying somewhat tame, but I feel like I’m making up for that in sheer ounces of fiber.

img_2432I’ll be taking my braids selected this quarter for my 1+1+1 project and spinning them together. Usually for me 2  –  4oz braids of fiber is the max I do for a project, so doing 3 feels like an enormous (kind of daunting) undertaking. I’m positive it’ll be worth it though. It’s kind of an evolving plan, but right now I think I’m just going to spin all three separately and then ply them together in a traditional 3-ply.

And early this morning, I got my start.

img_2455I’m beginning this project with ‘Dirty Girl Redux” on a BFL + Silk base. It’s been a long enough time since I’ve spun with a silk blend that I’m expecting a little more inconsistency and a little slower spin time on these. This little bit I got started, however, has been a pure joy — regardless of how it looks or how long it took.

On my needles, I got a start on the Brioche-Along taking place in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group. It’s just an informal, intimate little group working on brioche. Yarn, pattern, everything is the individual’s choice, we’re just knitting brioche together for support where needed and the general fun involved with working the same types of projects together. I’m working on Stephen West’s Askews Me Shawl. I was 100% inspired to knit this last summer when Renee from Spun Right Round was working on a scrappy version with her yarn. I had some of the same yarn in my stash (and may have added a couple skeins with this shawl in mind) and set it aside for this project. And there it sat until a few weeks ago when a couple people in the 1+1+1 Project mentioned wanting to try their hands at brioche. Long story short, we opened up the Brioche-Along.

I spent the past weekend staring at and rearranging my wound yarn cakes trying to decide how to organize this project without buying more yarn.  And this where I landed…

img_2435In lieu of a “dark side” and “light side”, I’ll be doing a “blue side” and a “not blue side”. I wasn’t convinced at first, but this has really grown on me and I think it’s going to be pretty whimsical and fun. I took my sweet time getting started in the wee hours this morning…

img_2452I think I re-knit the set-up rows at least 6-10 times to get it in my hands. By this point, my kiddos were also up and about so getting through the whole section without interruption/losing my place took some doing. A friend in the TWF ravelry group recommended these erasable highlighters a few weeks ago and — holy moly — did they ever save my life. I’d rank them up there with highlighter tape for their usefulness. They’re definitely worth trying if you haven’t yet.

But I digress.

Having finally gotten the set-up rows just so, I got to the main section and…

img_2454Found the point of total addiction. I’m already trying to figure how if I can make this shawl a little bigger. I think I’m getting ahead of myself, but it’s seriously just that fun and the fabric is just so squishy. And it’s only going to get better as I move into the more high contrast yarn combinations. Oh, I can’t wait!

As you can probably understand, I’m going to stop gushing for now and get back to knitting and spinning. These new beginnings are just too good to set down!