It Never Hurts to Dream

Last week I shared my Bootstrap Socks that I knit in Spun Right Round Superwash Sock.

SRRThe colors… they were pretty crazy fun.

I posted a couple photos on Instagram to share the blog post with followers there which led to a short discussion about how amazing Spun Right Round fiber is. Of course, I’d not yet made it to my fiber stash from this awesome shop, but the seed was planted and I simply had to spin up one of the braids of fiber I got for Christmas. After my last spinning project which was a lightweight polwarth + silk, I knew I needed just a light, airy, heavier weight spin for a change of pace. This merino seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

Merino Wool Roving - Hand Painted - Hand Dyed for Spinning or Felting - 4oz - Color PLay #47
Photo courtesy of Spun Right Round Yarn & Fiber Co

The colorway is called Color Play #47 — like the sock yarn I used in the socks I just knit, this series is made up of one-of-a-kind colorways. It was such a fab mix of colors and it was just beyond squishy. I went for a standard 2-ply and wound up with about 120yards of the squishiest…

srr merino3Dreamiest…

srr merino2Brightest…

srr merinoAnd most fun aran weight yarn ever spun on my wheel.

As always, I will say that spinning this heavy of a yarn does not come very easily to me. I’m much more comfortable in the silk blends that I can spin into nice and lightweight shawl yarns. This merino, however, was like a dream to spin — I absolutely did not mind that I’m dreadfully slow with it. In fact, I could probably spin myself right into spring if I had enough of this particular fiber. When I saw the merino update notice on the Spun Right Round Instagram feed the other day I half-joked that it should just all be sent to my house. Suffice to say, I feel a serious greed for this fiber — it doesn’t even matter what the colorway is. I will spin it.

I haven’t yet decided what to do with this yarn. I’m not sure why, but I got to thinking about Susan B Anderson’s A Pair and a Spare from last fall. I don’t think I’d have enough for a pair from one skein, but I got this idea in my head that it’d be fun just to knit a whole bunch of random bright mittens. I could to spin a whole bunch of this merino roughly the same weight and just knit up a whole truckload of mittens. We are always in need of dry mittens at our house — no matter how many I knit, there are never enough. This is probably because I tend to double-mitten my daughter when she goes to play outside — this not only keeps her hands warmer and dryer for longer, but also means she can easily wear my adult sized mittens without them falling off or fitting too poorly. I don’t have enough of this merino (yet) to make this crazy, bright, mismatched mitten dream a reality. At least not for this winter. But perhaps for next…

In any case, I do have at least one more braid of this lovely merino in my stash, but I can’t help but drool a bit over this one…

Merino Wool Roving - Hand Painted - Hand Dyed for Spinning or Felting - 4oz - Color Play # 90
Photo courtesy of Spun Right Round Yarn & Fiber Co

Called Color Play #90

Or this one…

Merino Wool Roving - Hand Painted - Hand Dyed for Spinning or Felting - 4oz - Color Play # 86
Photo courtesy of Spun Right Round Yarn & Fiber Co

Called Color Play #86

Or…

Merino Wool Roving - Hand Painted - Hand Dyed for Spinning or Felting - 4oz - Gigi
Photo courtesy of Spun Right Round Yarn & Fiber Co

The gorgeous Gigi.

It never hurts to look & dream, right?

Meet Cassie, Daisy, & Delia, Jr.

As strange as it is to write, my daughter turning seven has kind of caught me by surprise. Honestly, catching me off-guard has really been her MO from the beginning. Because my oldest child’s labor was a month early and took less than 3hours start to finish, everyone told us that with the second child I should strongly consider sprinting to the doctor at the first signs of labor. When the time came for my daughter to arrive, it was more or less her due date when contractions began and I ended up waiting at home until it seemed likely that she meant business, but it was not yet urgent. I waited overnight in the hospital barely uncomfortable, but with really no commitment to be born on her part. When morning rolled around, we opted to induce to get the show on the road. Three hours passed with very little happening and then it hit me like a freight train. Within about 5minutes I was having the textbook “Why did I not take the drugs?” thoughts and on the second or third contraction my husband  hit the emergency call button because apparently the monitor had slipped and it was not registering reality. Thankfully the nurses responded in time and they managed to ‘catch’ my daughter in her mad rush to be born. The doctor came running in a few minutes later, just in time to see all 5lbs 15oz of my baby girl in my arms.

She’s always been a happy, sunshine-y kid, but she has also been an individual from the start and very much the master of her own opinion. As a baby, the fastest way to get her to stop crying was hip-hop, especially M.I.A. She is equal parts princess and tomboy. She is sweet and thoughtful and loving and tenacious and stubborn and tough. She is very bright and reads like a fiend and loves to explore the world around her. She is a true force of nature if I have ever met one. And the fact that she is already seven years old completely blows my mind.

Now normally, I leave the gift shopping to my husband because as I’ve said in the past, he is way better at it than I am. This year, however, when Susan B Anderson launched her Mary, Millie, and Morgan doll pattern in January, my daughter saw it and immediately started asking for me to make this set of dolls for her. Knowing it was a lot of work and aware of my own aversion to knitting toys, I let it sit and waited to see if she’d forget.

She did not.

True to form, with her mind set she asked constantly about them. I told her I had to wait for the yarn — not a complete fib as the heathered greys were out of stock for a while.  But when I took my mom to visit Cream City Yarn in late spring, I saw they actually had the out of stock greys in the shop so I picked up the colors I’d need in the wonderful Quince & Co Chickadee. Then the yarn sat for a while.  I decided to wait until after the WI Sheep & Wool Festival in early September. They were small and with her birthday at the end of October, I thought that would be plenty of time. So the beginning of September turned into the end of September and I began to suspect I was cutting myself a little short on time. Because I wanted to knit these as a surprise for my daughter, that severely limited the time I could work on them — only an hour or two morning and night — and I hadn’t anticipated how long this type of project would take me.

I won’t lie to you — part of the hold up was that I really don’t enjoy knitting toys. There, I said it. I enjoy knitting. I enjoy knitting with the truly lovely Quince & Co Chickadee. I have the patience and willpower to create almost anything with sticks and string, but for whatever reason knitting toys just kills me. It feels like I do a ton of work and get no where. I get super bored and I struggle to find a rhythm. It is just so not great.

These dolls were for my girl though and she loves her stuffed animals, so I knew she’d appreciate and use them. I persevered. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know there was a week or two in there where I kind of did nothing but post photos of these dolls, usually with captions like, “Hoping for a leg and an arm tonight!”

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And “Here go the faces!”

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I almost did not survive the French knots for the eyes — it took me an hour and a half to do 6 French knot eyes. True story — I only wish I was kidding! Something about the size of the perle cotton thread and trying to put the knot on knitted fabric was just not happening. Anyways, 90minutes, 2 tutorials, a glass of wine, and more than a fair amount of frustration later, they had eyes.

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And I proceeded to stay up until about 2am to finish their hair. From there, it was a mad dash to finish up their clothes…

shawlsshawls…

skirtsskirts, dresses, and sweaters (the last two I don’t have separate photos of — I’m lucky I got the photos I did!). I followed the color guides on the pattern except for the little blonde doll who got a pink sweater & shoes instead of red ones.

With two days to spare… they were ready to go.

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The final test was what my girl would think…

IMG_6891To my surprise and delight, she really, truly loves them! And was beyond excited to have them. I mean, I knew she’d like them, but as any 6… I mean 7 (gulp!) year-old can be, there was a worry deep in my gut that she’d be fickle regarding these dolls, especially when you compare to some of her other gifts from family. I’m so happy that did not play out though. She plays with them a ton and loves to change their clothes and they get tucked in with her every night. Sometimes she sings them lullabies. It’s just about the sweetest, most rewarding thing ever.

Oh, and she named them and started assigning them personalities and character traits almost right away.

cassieThis is Cassie. She shares a name with my sister, but mostly she got the name because it rhymes with ‘sassy’ as she can be kind of a spark plug.

daisyThis is Daisy. She is mostly quiet and well-behaved.

djAnd this is Delia, Jr. She is a handful. She gets lost a lot and is lobbying hard for a puppy.

All in all, I still don’t love knitting toys, but I would do this project all over again knowing how happy she is with these dolls. In fact, I’ve been flirting with this idea for Christmas. I kind of can’t believe I’m considering it, but Delia, Jr. really does want a puppy…

11 Random Things on a Tuesday

My daughter’s birthday is this coming Sunday and I’ve literally been knitting on her gift — a complete set of Susan B Anderson’s Mary, Millie, and Morgan dolls — at every non-obvious opportunity. I had forgotten/blocked how slow-going knitted toys can be and totally did not comprehend how late I would have to stay up in the evenings and how early I would be waking up in order to make any sort of headway on them. My husband has been  very understanding — while I think he knows how hard I’m working to make this special for our little girl, I have a sneaking suspicion that he thinks I have finally lost it with this one. He has no patience for handcrafts of any sort and when I get myself into a project that starts to stress me out/exacerbate me, well, he just kind of looks at me with disbelief and thinly veiled tongue-biting. But bite his tongue he does and I thank him for that because even though this project is driving me a little over the edge, I am really excited to give it to our daughter on Sunday.

So, since I really need to be knitting on a doll dress right now, I thought rather than my usual longer, story-type post, today I’d just share a short random list of fun & interesting stuff that’s been happening here lately.

1. Despite my panties being in a bundle about being down to the wire, the aforementioned dolls are coming along right on time. At this moment, I have 2 dresses, 3 shawls, and their mary-jane shoe details left to go. It’s really not too much considering I have until Sunday, but I am not one who likes to flirt with deadlines. So I am pushing through this like no-one’s business. They got their faces and hair a couple nights ago (and when I say ‘night’ I mean I was up about 4hours past by bedtime making this happen).

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I can tell you my official crafting nemesis is the freaking french knot which took me an embarrassingly long time to get the hang of. And yes, each of the dolls is different at the body/leg transition. No, it was not on purpose. Yes, I will explain more later. You’ll love that story.

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But the colorwork skirts were a lot of fun. Occasionally I briefly flirt with the idea of making extra clothes in different colors, but so far have come to my senses before really going head-first down the rabbit hole.

2. The family & I have been taking some really wonderful fall hikes in the area. I am in love with the carpet of leaves we walk on each day and I’m happy to say we saw the first juncos of the season yesterday.

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I’m also a huge fan of what ‘considerable cloudiness’ looks like on The Marsh.

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3. My husband orchestrated a picnic for us yesterday where this was my view.

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We could hear cranes calling in the background and he made the simplest, most delicious picnic ever…

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Garlic butter crackers, summer sausage, cucumber, and white sharp cheddar cheese. I don’t know what it is, but to me this super basic picnic ‘meal’ is a million times better than any fancy meal in a restaurant.  We’ve never tried cracker sandwiches with cucumber before and I have to say it was really delicious!

4. This came in the mail today for a future project.

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It’s going to be fantastic.

5. The dog’s issues are starting to look much better — thanks for all your concern & advice!

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He does continue to radiate awesome, as well, even in his sleep.

6. At one point I was so bored with the doll project, I started pre-watching & taking notes for my new Craftsy class, New Directions in Lace: Hats with Courtney Kelley & Kate Gagnon Osborne. For now, let’s not talk about the fact that I was so bored with my own required knitting that I apparently had to start watching someone else knit something more interesting in order to stay sane. It’s a new level of obsessed that I just don’t want to address.

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In any case, the class is really well done & I’m taking time to really use the Craftsy platform and all its bells and whistles. I’ll be knitting the projects up and doing a full review in the next couple weeks, but I can already say that even though I’m pretty experienced with lace knitting, including hats, I’m picking up some awesome tips & tricks here. If you’re interested, this link with give you $10 off this fab class!

7. My husband had the kids turning over logs on one of our recent hikes and my daughter found this worm.

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She named him Sir Squirmsalot and thoroughly examined how he moves. And yes, she is wearing a cowl made of the second most expensive yarn I’ve ever knit because she loves it so much I couldn’t say no.

8. While on our mini-vacation the other weekend, my sister-in-law spent a ton of time with the kids doing origami (she has a lot of patience).

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So now I’m learning, too, so I can help my son. I made Tootsie here a Samurai helmet. And later youtube taught me how to do a petal fold and it blew my mind.

9. For school this morning my son needed to list some things he cold explain clearly. This is his list:

aldo listTelling time. Cutting cheese (not the slang, believe it or not). Alligator wrestling. Fossil finding. Climbing a climbing wall. If you’re interested in learning how to do these things, my son is apparently your man.

10. I got this new travel mug with a blue jay on it and I kind of love it.

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11. We totally did this to our poor dog.

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I love this dog so much. “Gentle Giant” is the perfect way to describe him. He was not very pleased here, but he also took a nice long time before he bothered to move.

Well, my lunch break is over and I definitely need to get that doll dress I’m knitting out and ready for some down time this afternoon and evening. I hope you enjoyed my little list of randomness. I have a few FOs I need to share with you when I’ve got a bit more time. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even see the completed Mary, Millie, and Morgan set soon!

Socks with Sarah, a KAL for 2014

Susan B Anderson made a huge splash a few months ago when she posted a photo of her sock drawer and it changed the knitting world immediately. It sounds so funny, but at a time when I think a lot of knitters were getting a little tired of the shawl craze and were searching for the next ‘it’ thing this sock drawer  — filled with every color under the rainbow — sparked a creative fire in knitters everywhere. Suddenly we were all asking ourselves, “Why doesn’t my sock drawer look like that?” Personally, mine had three or four handknit pairs lost in a sea of cheap workout socks & SmartWool. I am perfectly capable & I live in an area where socks are mandatory 9months out of the year… so why doesn’t my sock drawer look like Susan B Anderson’s?

Many of the bloggers I follow started featuring sock projects. Fellow local knitters started pulling more sock projects out of their knitting bags. The Yarn Harlot, well, she’s been knitting socks continuously forever because she is awesome. Even the very popular Knitmore Girls started #operationsockdrawer in which they decided to give new homes to their uninspiring handknit socks and start in earnest to create a sock drawer akin to Ms. Anderson’s. Yes, it seems everyone is talking about socks. Knitters, I think we’ve found ‘it’ — socks are the new ‘it’ thing.

As any knitter will do in the face of such collective enthusiasm, I started trolling sock yarns and patterns, sifting through my stash, reading reviews and searching for new techniques. I immediately started making to-do lists and mentally scheduling my sock knitting. What would be reasonable? How much sock knitting would be too much? Too little? Do I want to just make simple socks or try tougher techniques? I wonder if anyone would want to do this with me?

And thus, the idea for a knitalong was born.

Here’s what I propose, my friends:

Let’s knit socks.

Everyday.

For a year.

Now before I scare you away, I want to be clear. I am not proposing that we knit at break neck speeds to see who can crank out the most socks in a year. Oh no, that’s not my style at all.

The goal of this KAL is to condition ourselves to incorporate sock knitting into our every day lives.

Whether I knit a whole cuff during a Saturday movie marathon, or turn a heel in the 20minutes before my kids wake up, or work the stitches from needle 1 while I wait in the doctor’s office — whether I am knitting a Cookie A sock with multiple charts or a straight-up vanilla sock, I want to take advantage of the enthusiasm erupting from this renaissance of the sock to bring it back into the bread & butter of my knitting. There is no project easier to travel with, easier to pick up & set down quickly, and no more essential item in our arsenal of handknits than socks. I know a lot of us have socks going at all times — for me that usually means my sock sits in its bag until I am in between projects, I knit on it until I figure out my next project, and then pack it away again. And repeat. I want to change that attitude to one in which I am happy to pick up socks for at least a few minutes every day, not because I can’t think of anything more exciting, but because it is part of my day — maybe even something relaxing to which I look forward. Oh, and look in your stash. I bet you have some yarn suitable for socks in there, too. What a great opportunity to use some of that up!

While I certainly don’t plan to solely work on socks during 2014 (nor do I recommend that because personally I would go crazy), the idea here is that we simply bring our socks out every day and knit on them. We all know that a little knitting over a long period can go a long way — how would 365 days of sock knitting change your sock drawer? How would it change your knitting routine?

Why knit with me?

So many people are knitting socks right now, so why knit with me?  Why not?!  If you are like me and you are finding your way back to socks, join us — this will be a blast, I promise! Maybe socks never stopped being your mainstay — that’s great! — you can join us, too, and maybe shoot us some pointers or just share your projects. Never knit a sock before? That’s ok, too. I will be creating tutorials along the way to help you through the intimidating spots. I will also have a thread in the brand new Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group  — pop over & say hi! — where you can ask questions and share your progress & triumphs. I certainly can’t take the place of a good quality class at your local yarn shop, but if you don’t have that option available to you I would be happy try to help you!

So, in reality, how is this going to work you ask?

We will be knitting on socks everyday January 15, 2014 – January 14, 2015.

And really, that’s the only requirement for this KAL.

Easy.

At any given time I will be writing about & creating tutorials for the patterns I am working on — you are welcome to knitalong with these projects or work on patterns of your own choosing. I will be starting with my favorite basic pattern, Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock. This is my go-to plain sock pattern & is a fantastic first sock pattern for anyone new to sock knitting. The design team at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas have done a fantastic job with this pattern and have made it extremely easy to follow, but just in case you are still intimidated by words like “heel flap” and “turning the heel” and “gusset shaping,” the good folks at CYT gave me the ok to create some tutorials for you. So don’t worry, you can do it!

As the year goes on, my plan is to have at least one CYT Basic Sock on my needles at all times — for time in the car, for relaxation knitting, and just in the interest of creating a routine of sock knitting. In addition, I will be working more complex patterns & techniques here & there just for fun & to keep things interesting. Because I know a lot of us like schedules & timelines, I will also provide a schedule for the first CYT Basic Sock as well as any future new patterns I am working on. You certainly aren’t required to follow these schedules, but I will provide them for those who appreciate the motivation a timeline can provide.

Why start on January 15th?

I wanted to give us all time to get settled into the new year & back into our routines. I also want to give you time to gather your materials.

For those wanting to work on the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock with me right at the start, you will need:

1 copy of the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock Pattern  — please purchase a copy via your LYS, the CYT website, or Ravelry if you haven’t already

(Remember we want to support good designers, photocopying patterns for family or friends denies designers payment for their hard work — Don’t do it!)

Your choice of EITHER about 400yards of Fingering weight yarn OR about 300yards of Sport or DK weight yarn

The pattern provides directions for both weights — if you are worried about the speed of the project or 2nd sock syndrome, I strongly recommend the Sport/DK version. They work up much faster! And as always, remember: When in doubt, buy extra yarn!

Set of 4 double-pointed needles in EITHER US size 1 or 1.5 (for fingering weight) OR US size 3 for Sport/DK version

I will be starting with the traditional double-pointed needle knitting standard for the first set of socks & will not yet touch on 2-at-a-time or magic loop methods.

Remember to check your gauge — I can’t do that for you and it can make all the difference in a sock that fits or a sock that does not!

Between now & the KAL start date on January 15th, I will be writing some informational posts about yarn, needles, tools, resources, & mental preparation to get us all ready.

So who’s ready to knit some socks?!

sockswsarah

Le Tour: The First 10 Days

I have to admit that I am very surprised by how quickly the Tour de Fleece is flying by for me. It could be because I am spinning in every free moment I have. It could also be that I am pushing myself even harder than I had planned. However fast the time flies past, one thing is for certain: I have spun much more than I normally do & I have learned a lot. It is really fantastic!

The last update I gave you, I was spinning away on my double-marl. Remember it started as these two braids of SW BFL Top.image_medium2

Cloudlover Kimono

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And Cloudlover Printemps.

The finished skein — about 300yds of a worsted weight yarn — reflects the project itself — So. Much. Fun.

20130708-143625.jpgIt turned out so lovely!

20130708-143633.jpgSo colorful & lively — I have no idea what to do with it yet. Honestly, I just kind of like looking at it! I have received a bunch of questions regarding how I spun this skein, so I have another double-marl on the docket for which I plan to photograph the process in order to share my method. Until that time, I will direct you to Susan B Anderson’s blog — this blog post is actually where I learned about the double-marl (Thanks, Susan!). From here, I visited the Knitty.com post Susan recommended for the how-to. The coolest part about the process is that you don’t just spin different colors together — if you watch carefully while you spin, you get a crash course in how colors blend together and the seemingly infinite number of color possibilities when you spin two braids of hand-dyed fiber together. If you haven’t tried this technique, I really can’t recommend it enough — it is fun and an education!

Next up came my Cloudlover Decay — a merino, bamboo, silk blend. image_medium6

For this spin, I opted to try my hand at making & spinning fauxlags (a clever way of referring to ‘faked rolags’). Again, this is a technique I will illustrate in a coming post, but for now just know that you roll your fiber into these little cylinder-type shapes…20130708-143658.jpgOrganize them how you want the colors to flow & spin.

My end result was about 310yds of a lovely 2-ply fingering weight yarn with nice drape and a very even mix of color.

20130708-143929.jpgDon’t mind the yellow ties — it was all I had on hand when I was skeining it.

20130708-144020.jpgI really love how the colors remain independent and yet still mixed on this spin.

Next up was my Cloudlover Chimera III, a Rambouillet fiber. image_medium4I am doing something perhaps a little foolhardy with this — I split it in half & am planning to spin 2 mini-skeins with a Navajo-ply. I am a bit wary of how small these skeins may wind up being, but I am equally excited to see the finished yarn.

They started with a beautiful blue…20130708-143805.jpgAnd ended with these lovely forest tones.20130708-143814.jpg

These are resting, waiting their turn to be plied.

Waiting, in fact, on this braid.

image_medium5My Cloudlover Nightshade — 50% Superwash Merino, 50% Silk

Just to experiment, I did this with the braid…20130708-143824.jpgAnd now my kitchen table looks like this…

20130708-145353.jpgMy plan is to Navajo-ply this as well. In retrospect, a double-marl might have been more what I was looking for than the fauxlags, but I think I will get some nice little short repeats of color. In all honesty, I cannot imagine how this colorway could not look great no matter what I do to it.20130708-145347.jpgIt is somehow dainty & bold at the same time.  ♥

This spin is probably the toughest thus far for me on Le Tour. Spinning this lightweight yarn, I tend to get kind of bored and easily distracted. I am glad I have the Tour de Fleece to keep propelling me forward. With over halfway still to go with this braid, I am going to need it!

The Crazy End of May

With the completion of my handspun gradient, I am searching high & low for the perfect pattern. I am so thankful for any ideas passed my way so please keep them coming! I am hoping to eventually write a post about all the suggestions and the selection process. While that continues to take shape, I thought I would highlight what’s been going on in the life of Knitting Sarah and my many projects.

Let me start by saying that life has been a bit crazy — I am in the final stretch of my teaching tenure and I am handling all the insanity of the final weeks of school for my kids. I have also been very dedicated to my lap swimming routine which has been doing wonders for how I am feeling. It does, however, cut into knitting & spinning time. At first this was pretty painful because that is ‘my time’ usually spent knitting, but I am beginning to feel the benefits outweigh the sacrifice and the balance I am starting to experience is great. Poor Moose, has been sick over the past few weeks, too, but we finally narrowed it down to a food allergy, switched foods three times, and at last, the past couple days he has been back to his old self. Phew.

In short, my knitting and spinning time has been suffering a bit, but all for very good causes. I am doing my best to sneak in a bit here and there. And to continue to dream. Always to dream. In any case, here’s what’s been happening in my knitting & spinning.

20130523-071320.jpgFirst, my Sixareen Cape. I love this knit and I can’t wait to finish it. Lately, it has seen the lot of the inside of its project bag though. I can’t remember if I mentioned it here or not, but I received some errata for the pattern & had to rip back a fair bit of the solid section at the top. I honestly don’t mind — I happily accept it as part of the risk of being one of the earliest knitters of a project. I have faith that designers do their best to make patterns error free, but when it happens, it happens. We are all human. The downside is that it put this project off the timeline for which I was aiming. No longer really viable as something I’ll get to wear this spring, I have bagged it until later this summer. It will be grand this fall to be sure.

20130523-071311.jpgInstead I have been clicking away when time allows on my summerific Kit Camisole. As you probably read last week, I had some sizing issues that required yet another episode of ripping back. Slowing but surely though I am recovering this project. I am almost through the molasses-like knitting of the linen stitch — only about 4 rounds to go — and then things will start to move more quickly. Stockinette in the round is good for that. I’m very happy with how it’s shaping up and hopeful that I can make a serious dent in this over the next couple weeks.

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In addition to my pretty gradient, I spun up the last 25yards of my natural/white LondonDairy Alpaca fiber that I had sitting aside. I am not exactly sure why I didn’t spin it up right away when I did the rest, but there it is. I fear it may have turned out a bit lighter than the original thick & thin skein, but I will figure out a way to make them work together. I am short on yardage, but kind of thinking about giving Alana Dakos’ Twin Leaf Loop a go in this yarn. I received my pre-order of her Botanical Knits in the mail last week and immediately thought of this handspun as I flipped through the beautiful book & spotted the Twin Leaf Loop. It will take some improvisation with the yardage shortage, but I think I can make it work. At the very least, I could make a version that my daughter would like.

20130523-071301.jpgFinally, I divided up my next spinning project. This is 4oz of 100% Portuguese Merino in the ‘Paris, At Last’ colorway from Dyeabolical.  A month or two ago I asked one of my spinning heroes, Kara from Suzy Sells Sea Shells, where she likes to get her spinning fiber. Dyeabolical was right up at the top of the list. I had heard of Dyeabolical yarns and fibers many times via Susan B Anderson’s blog, but never tried it. I  had stashed some cotton hand dyed yarns from the shop when it was on sale last December, but that was the end of my experience there. When I read Kara sing its praises though, I almost immediately popped on over and ordered a bag of fiber. I have to say that so far I am really impressed. The colors & fiber, yes of course, but also with Rachel — the lady behind Dyeabolical — whose customer service is friendly, prompt, and despite dealing over the internet, my experience is that she actually answers questions as though you were at a brick & mortar shop with her. I am a big fan of that.

In any case, I have been very excitedly anxious to try this wool out, but am pretty strict with myself regarding how many spinning projects I can have going at a time. To be precise, I am allowed one project on the wheel at a time. If I have a single waiting to be plied I may start another project as it rests, but that’s it. I have to make these rules or things will quickly devolve into utter chaos and make me crazy. But I digress. Having finished up the gradient project & the LondonDairy Alpacas, at long last I opened up my bag of Dyeabolical and asked myself the questions I always ask before starting a spinning project:

1.What spinning technique will make the most of the colors & fiber here?

2. What sort of project would I use this yarn for?

After reading about fractal spinning on IntrovertedKnitter, I thought that this technique would be the perfect way to spin the most out of this lovely wool. And it would be a new technique for me, too. I like that. At Kara’s suggestion, I made my first split in half horizontally and set one half aside. The other half I split into four mostly equal portions. To get a bit more yardage I will probably opt for a 2-ply, but that will depend on the weight of the single which is a detail that is yet to be determined. I hope to start spinning it up sometime in the next week. I am envisioning mittens for my daughter for next fall…

I am also happy to report that my MerryKAL Christmas balls are also complete and ready for photos. Those pictures, of course, will have to wait until next week when the month is up.

With my update complete, I must now go frost four dozen cupcakes for my son’s birthday treat. Oh, this crazy will wind down eventually… I think…

Until next time, Happy knitting…. or field tripping…. or frosting… or spinning… or swimming… or…!