Wacky & White Sangria

As promised, I’ve got some fresh handspun to share today! Yay!

As part of the Akerworks Flat Pack Lazy Kate test I’ve been working on trying a lot of different plying scenarios. Varying the number of singles I’m plying, changing up the weights of singles, as well as the methods for plying. Again, I’m not going to go into detail on the Kate at this time, but I did want to share the yarns as they come off the wheel. Today I’m going to share two skeins that I worked up pretty similarly.

First, for a simple 2 ply I started with this braid of fiber.

Having been doing much more with with getting my singles light weight I made a little departure with this braid of Rambouillet from Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber in the White Sangria colorway.

img_3017Aiming for a worsted-ish 2-ply, I’m happy to say that’s exactly what I got in the end.

True to the Rambouillet breed, this yarn poofed nicely in the wash.

coilAnd in the end I had a lovely squooshy skein.

skeinAt about 8-9wraps per inch this worsted/aran skein has about 170yards on it, perfect for a soft and smooshy hat or cowl.

Next, how about Wacky from Spun Right Round.

I can always count on my Spun Right Round fibers to be bright and unexpected and a little wild (and wacky).

img_3039Shooting for a worsted-ish 3-ply, I was kind of testing my skills since I’d have to make minor changes to my singles from those I’d just spun for White Sangria.

img_3103-1The colors were bright and fun to spin — it really helped me to forget the demands of the spin.

detAnd it came out SO NICELY.

skeinThis 3-ply indeed came out as a worsted weight yarn (about 4-5wraps per inch) and measured in around 150yards. Because of the 3-ply and the slightly tighter plying job it doesn’t quite have the squoosh factor that the White Sangria skein does, but that’s A-OK with me.

coilI mean this skein is so darn fun!

What a great couple of skeins with which to start my great plying extravaganza!

A WIP Wednesday

Wednesdays are usually very busy family days for me so I rarely get to post up a standard WIP Wednesday like other bloggers do, but this week our schedule is a little different and I thought it’d be fun to participate and share my current works in progress.

First, on my needles I’ve been clicking away at my Riverbend cardigan.

img_2361I’m knitting it in Brooklyn Tweed Quarry in the Slate colorway. I’ve had a lot of concerns about the fit of this sweater. When considering the recommended ease, I’m very much in between sizes. In the end, I opted to go with the smaller size. With a recommended positive ease of 4-7″, I decided I’d rather have 2.5-3″ of positive ease instead of 7+”. With this design, I had a bad feeling that going beyond the recommended ease would leave me with a sweater that was constantly falling off my shoulders which would make me crazy. Of course, this means I fret a bit while I’m working on it — trying to eyeball the sizing as I go. I started the sleeves last night, though, so I shouldn’t have long to wait and see how the final fit goes. I’ll also have some words to share on the much debated ‘unspun’ quality of Quarry as well so stay tuned.

On my wheel, I’m plying my Completely Twisted and Arbitrary SAL “Color Music” BFL.

img_2358These colors — dyed by Three Waters Farm — are truly rich & lovely. I noticed someone else in the Ravelry group who didn’t barberpole the colors, but kept the colors true and I had just a teeny tiny pang of regret that I hadn’t done the same. No matter, though, this yarn will be lovely.

Do you count the projects you’re organizing in your head as WIPs? I definitely do! Especially as I near the end of a current project my mind definitely is already locating yarn for the next project and making plans. In this case, I’ve been searching for the perfect pattern for this skein that arrived on my doorstep on Saturday.

img_2346Meet Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts latest base, Reinvent in the Kismet colorway. Reinvent is a super unique yarn, made with the environmentally conscious crafter in mind as it’s made from reclaimed new fibers. It’s a nice big 437yard skein of wool/mohair/nylon/acrylic/silk blend and at first touch it has a very BFL or BFL/silk type feel to it. I’m kind of leaning toward knitting up a shawl with it, but we shall see. I’m going to keep looking for a couple days to make sure I find the pattern.

I also pulled out my yarn for some brioche!

img_2362I got this yarn last year after being inspired by Renee of Spun Right Round‘s start on a scrappy Askews Me Shawl. And then recently in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group I noticed quite a few knitters chiming in on the One Plus One Plus One Project making ‘learn brioche’ one of their goals. We got to talking and decided to have a little informal Brioche-Along. We’ll be starting March 1st and while everyone can pick their own yarns & patterns, we’ll be there to share our brioche journeys and help each other out along the way. Anyone is welcome to join — from the newbie brioche knitter to skilled hands with the technique.

Of course, there’s a braid of fiber or two on deck and I’m definitely flirting with winding yarn for another quick sweater. That could be said for me almost any day of the year though if I’m being honest. I’ll stop here for today though — for my sake as well as yours!

Happy WIP Wednesday to you — may your needles fly & your dreams be big!

Life is Short, Right?!

I actually don’t remember when I purchased my Sport Sock in the Holy Crow colorway from Spun Right Round. It was probably as soon as I discovered she carried sport weight sock yarn because it’s no secret that I kind of have an obsession with sport weight socks. I love that they knit up quickly and are cozy in the winter, but that they still fit in my shoes. In any case, I think I wound this yarn in the pre-trip delusional packing that went on before our trip to the Badlands in April and suffice to say I did not get to it on the trip. I got no where near it.

This fall, I’ve been trying to make some stash progress though, and that has meant first working on knitting up things I pre-maturely wound into center-pull balls. Enter, once again, Holy Crow.

IMG_1023I opted to knit them into Simple Skyp Socks. This free Ravelry pattern boasts multiple sizes and a pretty stitch pattern that is really easy to memorize. It’s really an ideal pattern for me when I know I’ll be picking up and setting my knitting down a lot or when I know I need to be able to knit on something that I can look away from frequently. They also work really well for me when I’m not 100% awake — like early morning or later in the evening. They took me a little over a month to knit up, but considering I completed 3 or 4 skeins of handspun, sweaters for both kids, a cowl, and considerable progress on two different shawls, that doesn’t seem too bad to me.

stitch detailAs you can see, the stitch pattern looks really pretty with the yarn.  I love Spun Right Round’s approach to color — it’s always fun & unexpected & spontaneous, so you never know when you’ll hit a pop of orange or a few stitches of jet black. It really makes each project unique and keeps me on my toes. I like that a lot!

footI think these would work equally well as plain ‘ol vanilla socks, too. Or a shawl. Or a sweater. Gosh, I really love this colorway.

I opted to play some low-level yarn chicken and went with 7.5″ legs on these and I wound up with a little under 20yds left. It wasn’t too much of a nail-biter and I’m pretty happy I pushed it a bit for the longer leg.

wholeThe finished socks are simply fantastic. The yarn is squishy and lovely on my feet and the fit is great. Since my sock drawer is kind of exploding with handknit socks I was planning to tuck these away in my cedar chest in an effort to start stockpiling for the future, but I have a feeling I won’t be able to wait to wear these.  That’s OK, though. I just keep thinking to myself: Life is short, right? Wear the socks!

I do have one more skein of Sport Sock in my stash — it’s the Chalkboard colorway which I absolutely adore and can’t wait to knit up. This, of course, does not stop me from dreaming about The Walkers or Distortion colorways though. Thankfully, I’m saved by my mother-in-law who asked me last week if I’d be up for making her another pair. Of course, I jump at the opportunity to knit for family and I immediately checked my notebook for her foot measurements (which I do indeed have noted) and then went straight to my stash where I picked out 2 or 3 skeins for her. Now I’ve just got to integrate that knitting in with my other knitting and spinning projects over the next couple of months. But I just keep thinking to myself: Life is short, right? Knit the socks!

Twitchy

I’ve been a bit busy the past week. First, I had to deal with Mt. Laundry from our vacation. Then there was the unfortunate fact that I desperately needed to clean out our gutters as they were totally full of maple leaves and helicopters. And the outdoors planters needed to be cleaned and tucked away for the winter. pumpkinAnd the pumpkins we accidentally grew from the compost needed to be picked. And the lawn needed to be mowed. And then there was the tiny fact that this little lady had a birthday.

dOf course, this isn’t a current picture as she turned 8-years-old. I’m still trying to figure out how that is even possible.

You get my drift though — lots to do these past few days. I’m happy to report though that the gutters were cleaned, the pumpkins picked, the lawn mowed, the laundry cleaned and folded, and my girl had a wonderful birthday.

Phew.

And while not doing all these non-craft related things I, monogamist that I am, have been a bit twitchy about having multiple projects in the works. While it’s true that I finished a sweater (it’s drying…) and two skeins of handspun yarn this week, I’m feeling a bit anxious with three active knitting projects as well as two spinning projects.

First, there’s this singles yarn I whipped up while I was waiting for it to warm enough to deal with the gutters Saturday morning.

IMG_1183It’s from Three Waters Farm & is a 4oz braid of Finn Wool in the Spotted Purple Admiral colorway. It spun beautifully and honestly I didn’t realize that I’d managed a fairly even singles yarn until I was taking this photo. I’m planning to lightly felt it when I set the twist and I just haven’t quite found the time (or the kitchen clean enough) to do so yet. I’m hoping to get to that today or tomorrow.

Then I started a new double marl. It’s been a couple years since I did a double marl and I’ve had two Cloudlover Fiber Club braids earmarked for it for a good long while.

IMG_1195I had some doubts early on, but I’m feeling pretty good about how this will look finished as a 2-ply. I couldn’t remember if I had the barber poling like this the first time around with this technique so I hopped back to July 2013 on my blog and had a look…

20130701-191518.jpg

I do spy barber poling so that concern was relieved. I was also pretty chuffed to see both the photo and spinning quality appear to have improved quite a bit in two years. Anyhoo, I have quite a ways to go before the current project is finished. It’s a full 8oz and to maintain a fair bit of control in the spinning, I’m taking it at a slower speed than I usually would for this weight of singles yarn. I think it’ll be a fun journey even if I’m a little anxious along the way.

On my needles, I spent the days that were busier working on my Simple Skyp Socks.

IMG_1218I managed to finish up the first sock and get about one-third of the second sock’s leg finished as of the time of this post. I’m using Spun Right Round‘s Sport Sock in the Holy Crow colorway and I just love how it’s working up. For me, this is a really nice & easy project to work on while I wait for the kiddos during school or if I’m watching the more visual TV program Wallander that my hubby and I have been enjoying lately.

And last night I managed to work through the second of five sections of my Miya Shawl for the Miya KAL over with Bijou Basin Ranch.

IMG_1219This project and the yarn is exceeding my expectations on all levels. The yarn — Xanadu — is amazing. It’s light and airy and soft and just a dream to work with. The pattern is also really fun. It’s not quite the kind of pattern I can memorize and work on on autopilot, but it is still relaxing enough to kick back with once school is over with the kiddos. Just a reminder that there’s still time to enjoy the KAL and the 15% discount on this yarn + the free Miya Shawl pattern with the coupon code MIYAKAL over on the Bijou Basin Ranch website. After having worked with it now, I’m definitely considering another skein or two.

And then there’s my Miss Grace Shawl.

IMG_1217Sadly, I haven’t touched it since before our mini-vacation last week. Since there’s no progress to share, I thought I’d share the project bag this shawl calls home for now. It’s from The Fawn & The Fox and I just adore it. I’m very anxious to work on it again, but with the twitch to get something finished, I think I’m going to just allow it to remain on pause until I can whip through the socks or the Miya Shawl. Then I’ll be able to just enjoy the knitting and that’s really how it should be.

I won’t tell you about how I’m all set to get started with a new technique and sock pattern or how after knitting a sweater for each of my kids I’m jonesing to get one going for myself. Or how I have another shawl and at least three more spinning projects I can’t wait to get going. Perhaps it’s actually the projects I’m dying to get started that are making me twitchy — not the ones on which I’m already working. Whatever the case, you can count on the fact that my wheel & my needles are flying these days!

And the Wheel Goes ‘Round & ‘Round & ‘Round

I did not participate in Spinzilla this year, but thanks to having my wheel set-up and easily accessible and all the talk here lately on spinning I’ve been very inspired and I’ve been managing to spin daily. Sometimes it’s just a few minutes, but it has felt great to just carve out that time every day to spin. I’ve even popped on Periscope a couple times to share those moments with you — I’m @KnittingSarah if you haven’t joined the fun. Thanks to these baby steps, I have some new finished handspun yarns to share – yay!

First up, let’s look at Dyeabolical’s Fate, Phd.

IMG_8657-0I bought this beauty  — 8oz of the Fate, PhD colorway dyed on a Falkland base — this spring and managed to get it started as my first spin after the Tour de Fleece this summer. And then, as it usually goes, my spinning production dipped directly after the TdF, but I eventually finished up the singles.

dyeabolicalA traditional, lightweight 3-ply was the goal. These bobbins got a nice long rest as I worked on two other sets of singles before circling back around to ply them. The results?

FatePHDRougly 435yards of sport weight 3-ply yarn.

FATE PHD2I’m, of course, delighted with the results. Falkland is quickly becoming one of my favorite fibers to spin with — it feels crisp, yet soft in my hands. And Rachel at Dyeabolical just always does such beautiful things with color.

 The second project that I wrapped up was from Spun Right Round. It was a fiber pack that was just different and I thought it would be fun try.

Arriving in 2 – 2oz braids, this Falkland (I know, Falkland again) was half brightly colored, kind of bold pastel hues and half black/grey/purple blend. I was super intrigued to see how they’d look spun separately and plied together, so that’s just what I did.

Brights…

IMG_0717 Plus darks…

IMG_0718Equals…

IMG_0875-0A-mah-zing.

This yarn is unique and so fun.

SRR handspunAt the end of the day, I finished with about 235yards of heavy fingering or light sport weight yarn with that signature soft, but drapey feel of Falkland.

SRR2I’m just so happy with it. I have no idea what to do with it at the moment, but I love it.

Thanks to Instagram and Periscope I’ve also found a new favorite source of inspiration, Three Waters Farm. Lolly Knits recommended this shop a while back and while they’ve been on my radar (and in my stash) since early summer, I recently discovered their Instagram feed in earnest and their nature photographs combined with their fiber combination photos — well, I simply could not be any more inspired.

Somehow the fates aligned and Mary Ann from Three Waters Farm and I managed to ‘meet’ on Periscope (she’s @ThreeWatersFarm, in case you haven’t followed her yet) and — I swear — it was clear almost instantly that we are cut from the same cloth. Enthusiastic and fun and serious about fiber arts all rolled into one with a true passion to teach and share in the most inclusive way possible — that’s my impression of Mary Ann. Not to mention, she’s wildly knowledgeable and a very talented dyer. Suffice to say, while I wait to be able to afford a certain color combination that caught my eye on her Instagram feed, I decided I simply had to haul out the 8oz of fiber I have in my stash from Three Waters Farm.

First, a colorway called Cafe Diem. It’s dyed on 100% BFL which I’ve already prepped to start spinning once I finish the current project I’m plying.

3Waters Cafe DiemI can’t think of Cafe Diem without thinking of the TV show Eureka, but I have the sneaking suspicion that this colorway might in fact be named for a spot in real life. I’ll have to ask sometime. I’m thinking I’ll just do a very simple fractal-ish 2-ply with this fiber.

I also have a colorway called Lone Grasshopper on deck…

Lone GrasshopperIt’s on a Polwarth/Silk base and I really can’t wait to spin this one, too. I just know that pop of chartreuse will make this spin very special.

I’ve got probably an hour or two’s worth of plying left on my current project and thanks very much in part to the new projects all ready to go sitting right next to my wheel I’m having no trouble finding the drive to finish up. My wheel will just keep spinning, ’round and ’round and ’round — thanks to the great feelings that finishing brings and having a space to work. New inspiration, new friends, and and all the colorful beauty that will soon grace my wheel, they are, of course, excellent motivation as well.