A Leap Forward

There are some projects for which you simply make time even when you don’t think you have it. I’ve been trying very hard to keep up with my Top of the Month fiber club shipments from Three Waters Farm — to spin each month’s fiber in the month I receive it. I’ve never managed to stay up with my fiber clubs in the past, but it was a promise I made to myself when I signed up for this one. I managed it in December, missed January, and thought I’d be missing it again in February. I was acutely aware that that was not a great track record at all, though, so when I had a few days at the end of February to make a go with February’s ‘Light in the Trees’, I jumped.

littWanting to get this going asap, I didn’t overthink it. I prepped it simply with breaking it into its three equal & identical repeat portions (when dyers dye a braid of fiber they will often have three repeats on a 4oz braid) and then I stripped it into 2-3gram strips. I planned to spin it in one long piece and then n-ply it.

img_2387-2It just so happened that the lightweight singles I’ve been seeking finally came back to me on this spin.

img_2414-1And it was terribly exciting for me, so much so that I kind of whipped through the singles. The fantastic colors didn’t slow me down, either.

img_2417It was when I started plying, however, that I knew I’d really have the skein I’d been working toward all these many months — fingering weight 3-ply with (hopefully) ample yardage.

img_2422With the hope that I could indeed knit these into socks one day, I put in a relatively high-twist.

And the finished yarn?

skeinBe still my heart!

detFrom my 4oz braid of fiber, I got just shy of 400yards of 3-ply fingering weight yarn. Considering that I’ve been struggling to get in the 300yard range with the same amount of fiber, this is a huge accomplishment for me.

I saw a really gorgeous skein of gradient from this same fiber in the Ravelry group that almost made me second guess my blend of colors a little…

super detailI do love how these colors interact, though. It really does remind me of looking up into the trees in a forest on a spring day — the browns of the bark & last year’s fallen leaves, the greens just starting to peek out below my feet, the crisp blue sky, and the warm sun.  No, I don’t think I could have made a better skein for me.

the pretty pileWhat’s more, at about 400yards of fingering weight yarn this is a perfect skein for some sock knitting. I plan to work these two-at-a-time from the toe-up so that I’ll be able to use up all the yarn. After all, when it’s such a labor of love and represents such a huge leap, you use all the yarn. I’ve been meaning to give the new Churchmouse Toe-Up Sock pattern a whirl and I think think might be the perfect opportunity. I might even peek in my stash to find some yarn for a contrast toe & heel. I seem to recal a rusty brown that might work…

This spin has really felt like a turning point for me — the comfort I’m feeling at my wheel is at an all time high. Ironically, I’m wondering (and wondering and wondering) if I’m now able to bounce back and forth a little better between heavier yarns and this new lightweight yarn. That is the ultimate goal — to be able to sit down and just create the yarn I want, any yarn I want, whenever I want. For now, though, I think I’m going to hang around in this new lace weight singles realm for a little bit. It was a hard-won and I kind of what to bask in this little leap forward. A leap forward in February in a leap year. This spin may have been a whim, but I couldn’t have planned the results better if I’d tried!

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!