WIPs, SIPs, Books, & Destash

The Free Time Gods have been smiling upon me, as I’ve been able to squeeze in a little more time for crafting here and there, lately. Thank goodness, as things were getting dire. My main WIP at the moment is the Newborn Vertebrae cardi I’m making for the Hatchling:

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Black Trillium Fibres gradient set in Pease, click for project page.

For my third attempt at picking up edge stitches, I moved one stitch in from the slipped stitch edging and made sure to twist my stitches. I still had a few funky gaps but ended up just picking an extra stitch up and knitting it together with the one on my needle and that closed the holes well enough. I’m nearly done with the edging and then just have to decide what I want to do for sleeves. Full length? Half length? How should the gradient go?

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Praise the Free Time Gods, she’s actually spun something. Click for handspun page.

I made it to a spinner’s guild meeting over the weekend and since I’m way too pregnant to lug around my wheel, this SIP was revived. I started it during Tour de Fleece LAST JULY so I’d like to finish it up here soon. At this point, I think I’d be happy to finish just ONE SKEIN OF HANDSPUN before the baby comes. I had only been using my small green Turk but released that I could get a lot more done if I spread out to other tools. Turkish spindles are great for spinning on the go but I prefer supported spindles for spinning relaxed on the couch. I’m making decent progress and think I have less than half the braid of merino left now.

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Current reading.

We’re getting down to the wire here (< 6 weeks to go!) so I’m doing my homework and continuing to mentally prepare myself for The Upcoming Ordeal. This book is really great for that, it even illustrates different comfort positions and has a handy table of all the stages of labor, what I might be experiencing, and how the birth partner can best help during each stage. It’s laid out really nicely. I’d also recommend reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and taking a Bradley Method course. Husband-Coached Childbirth is an ok book, but it was first written in the 50’s by Bradley and… you can tell. It’s a little like sitting down with your grandpa listening to him explain to you how to give birth. I think his methods are solid and he did revolutionary things for the attitudes of doctors towards laboring women, and the book is interesting from a sociological perspective, but I think the one pictured above will be more directly useful for me. Ina May’s book is great for taking some of the fear out of the whole process, it’s full of inspiring natural birth stories that do a good job of illustrating how different labor can be from woman to woman.

In accepting that I will have even less time for crafting in the near future, I’m destashing some of my unused equipment. (Hover over images for name and click picture to zoom.) All prices include US shipping, I’m happy to ship internationally at cost. Either get in touch with me on Ravelry, leave a comment here, or send an email to alicia at woolendiversions dot com if you’re interested. I also still have plenty of yarn up for destash, as well.

  1. TexasJeans polka dot drop spindle – $50 – birdseye maple, purpleheart, redheart, osage orange, and dymondwood. Whorl diameter 2 9/16”, length 10 3/4”, weight 1 1/4 oz / 37 g.
  2. Spanish Peacock support spindle bowl – $40 – Cocobolo bowl with dimple for spindle tip, 6″ maple base.
  3. Fringe Association Fashionary Sketchbook – $20 – Completely unopened and unused, total impulse buy!
  4. Schacht Zoom Loom – $35 – Used only once or twice, all pieces included, slight tear in lid of box.

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If you’re local (RI, MA, CT, NH), you should totally come check out the RI Fiber Festival and Craft Fair this Saturday! Sweet Sheep will be vending there and it’s a great expose to get outside and explore the beautiful grounds of the historic working farm.

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Farmfest and Follies

First, a bit of news: Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe will be vending at Mount Hope Farm’s Farmfest event TOMORROW, Saturday 10/31 from 9am – 2pm in Bristol, RI. It’s a beautiful site with lots of harvest and Halloween fun planned, come say hi! Now, onto the follies.

Farmfest and Folly| Woolen Diversions

A gradient emergency!

This morning, I very nearly ripped my Norby & Pease hat back to the brim, despite being close to done. I had 5 shades of gradient yarn to use and 5 garter ridges to knit before beginning crown decreases, except I had miscounted and thought there were only 4 garter ridges, and started the gradient in the brim. I KNOW, TOTALLY DUMB, RIGHT?! In this case, I could either: 1) do one fewer pattern repeat and have a shorter hat, 2) rip back to the brim and leave that part solid, or 3) as my friend Katy so helpfully suggested, use a bit of the yarn I just bought at Rhinebeck which very nearly matches what would be the next shade in the gradient. KATY, YOU ARE A GENIUS.

I think I’ll try the hat on later and see if I can deal with it shorter, and if not, I’ll probably use a bit of the O-wool shown to fill in the last color. Or, I might just repeat the final gradient color throughout the crown shaping. WHAT WOULD YOU GUYS DO? #overthinkingthis

Bye, bye, Babe.

In other news, there’s a very good chance we’ll be moving to a smaller apartment in the near future, so a massive destash is in order. One thing I’m letting go of is my first wheel, the Babe Double Treadle Production. I’ve had it since 2012, it’s a great starter wheel and its Irish tension makes it good for plying. It’s also very lightweight and travels well because it is made of PVC. It retails for $320, I’m asking $225 or best offer. In addition to the wheel, check out my Ravelry trade page for lots of lovely yarns. I literally exported my yarn stash to a spreadsheet and ruthlessly went through highlighting items for destash: anything without a concrete plan or an unhealthy level of emotional attachment had to go.

Farmfest and Folly | Woolen Diversions

It’s a sunbeam party.

The kitties approve of my destash plan. Less yarn in the house means more room for lounging.

Happy weekend!

WIPWed #90: Knit Therapy

You know it’s been a rough week when chocolate has become a food group, am I right?! There’s a particular kind of low-level, constant stress around here that is just plain unpleasant and not healthy. Give me a crisis I can face and just get over already, man. The day-to-day grind is what really wears a girl down. Good thing there’s knitting, huh?

Rotted Days: WIPWed #90: Knit Therapy  | Woolen DiversionsI began this shawl as a special treat after a particularly bad day. I was inspired by April’s handspun version and her #handspunchallenge (the challenge being to actually knit something out of your handspun) over at WithWool. Even though keeping track of short rows tends to irritate me, I really like the look of Stephen West’s Dotted Rays pattern and couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I gave in. I think my BFL handspun is really well balanced by the dark purple contrast (hand-dyed but commercially spun) yarn. On its own, I think the handspun would be a little too… sugary sweet? Sparkly? Floofy? With the deep purple, it becomes just a little more sophisticated. And seeing as I finished these skeins over a year ago, I figured it was high time to knit them up!

Mom’s Flocked Socks:

IMG_2894Mom’s socks are progressing nicely, I’m nearing the point where toes need to happen. Which is good, because I’m also quickly approaching the point where they need to be in the mail. Chances are, she’ll get these a little late, but what’s a day or two, right?

Spinning:

I found this lovely spindle in a destash on Ravelry and couldn’t help myself. I love the blush of pink in the wood of the whorl. It’s a Tibetan style support spintle from TinasAngoras, who apparently doesn’t make this style anymore. The whorl is made from flame box elder and the shaft is made from redheart wood. It’s spins beautifully, I’m working on some sample wool that the kind destash-er included.

Books:

I’m still working on the same books I was reading last week, however, my decluttering efforts mean that I’m destashing couple of bundles of knitting- and spinning-related books.

Send an e-mail to alicia at woolendiversions dot com if you’re interested in any of these. I’d prefer to sell them as bundles ($30 for each set of 4, which includes priority shipping to US) but will split up for $10 each if there’s interest. The knitting-bundle includes A Gathering of Lace, The Knitter’s Life List, Knitting Plus, and Custom Knits while the spinning-related bundle contains Pure Wool, The Ashford Book of Carding, The Field Guide to Fleece, and a handy booklet with DVD about spinning on a Turkish spindle, from Wanda Jenkins.

I’m also destashing extra needles. I have 2 sets of Knitter’s Pride Karbonz needles (size 2.00 mm and 2.25 mm), one Knitter’s Pride Karbonz fixed circular in size US 4, an unopened pack of Susan Bates aluminum DPN’s in a variety of sock sizes, one set of Kollage Square metal needles in 2.75 mm, 2 pairs of US 6 fixed circular needles (one Chiagoo and one Clover), and not pictured are two sets of US 9 aluminum fixed circular needles (one 16″ and one longer, 24-32″). Send a note to the same e-mail as above and make me an offer if you’re interested!

I’m also selling a guitar, which is likely a long shot on a knitting blog, but you never know. Crafty people are often musical, plus my car’s about to die and the down payment on a replacement isn’t going to pay itself! I bought it new for $130 in 2008, played it gently for about a year, and it has sat in its case ever since. It comes with a stand, a pick, and a dusty-yet-serviceable, hand-me-down guitar case. As above, make me an offer, and leave a comment if you have any questions!

That’s all from me this week. I better get back to knitting before I try to sell any more of my stuff… Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday!

Decluttering Like A Boss

I tackled my most difficult #KonMarie decluttering session yet over the weekend. It was, in fact, the whole reason I started cleaning stuff up in the first place: my knitting WIPs and notions. I keep most of my knitting needles, notions, and assorted paraphernalia in 2 small plastic drawers and a basket, all of which were crammed tight and overflowing.

All of my WIPs are kept — honestly, all over the place, but theoretically organized in another set of plastic drawers. I had them sorted by year started (which was super depressing) but then shuffled things around into three categories: socks, shawls, and ‘other’ (encompassing mitts, cowls, scarves, a blanket, etc.). And most importantly, I ruthlessly frogged things that no longer sparked joy.

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Which means I spent many, many minutes ripping back, untangling, and winding yarn back up but man it was worth it. You might be thinking, “Oh my, how can she handle ripping back 5 partially-finished pairs of socks?!” Have no fear, I still have 12 sock WIPs hibernating and 2 that I’m actively working on. I do not lack for sock projects. But at least now I know where they all are, what state they’re in, and where the heck all my needles were hiding. (I will soon be destashing a bunch of needles because I apparently just bought more when I couldn’t find some… woops. My yarn destash is still ongoing.)

I have to admit, decluttering feels really good, and it’s helped me re-focus my knitting efforts. I picked up an old sock WIP that had just one leg done that I’d like to finish by Mother’s Day (one of my Second Quarter goals), and I’m already at the heel on both socks. Turns out, socks are super speedy when you actually work on them. WHO KNEW?!

Speaking of actually working on projects, check out my top 5 ways to procrasti-knit over on Stef’s blog!

WIPWed #88: The Toes Are the Best Part

I love sock toes so much because they mean the end of the sock is near (when knit top-down, anyway) and that means my feet will soon have a lovely new bit of wool to wear. I love them a little bit less when I have to re-knit them over and over, but I could avoid that issue if I planned things out beforehand rather than just winging it. All that is to say, I’m nearly done with my socks!

Tropical Traveller:

WIPWed #88: The Toes Are The Best Part | Woolen Diversions

My camera did not love this colorway today.

I had intended to try out a new-to-me toe from Lara Neel’s Sock Architecture book (with measurements and everything!) but when it came to toe time, I was lazy and just started knitting. Which meant I ended up re-knitting a couple of times. In the end, I did 5 plain rows, 3x of decrease row + 2 plain rows, 5x of decrease row + 1 plain row, then a final decrease and kitchener stitch. Things would likely have been much simpler if I just followed someone else’s instructions!

MalMarch Sundry:

WIPWed #88: The Toes Are The Best Part | Woolen Diversions

Loving that houndstooth.

Since the socks were nearing a tricky bit, I picked up my easy shawl again for office/meeting knitting. I’m really digging the slipped garter stitch that’s going on here and I have plans to borrow it for a design that’s been brewing for a while. Hopefully I’ll find time to develop that past the ‘general idea’ stage sooner than later. The shawl is nearly 2/3 done, once those wee balls of yarn are finished I continue with another ball of the indigo colorway until it nearly runs out, then bind off. Getting there!

#MegaSAL Magrat:

WIPWed #88: The Toes Are The Best Part | Woolen Diversions

Blurry, unlovely photo of truly lovely spinning.

Besides my afternoon of spinning on Sunday, I haven’t picked up the spindle much this week. I’ll have to remedy that, if I ever want to finish this yarn! Plus, I went all #KonMarie on my fiber stash and was slightly horrified at seeing everything piled all together like this:

WIPWed #82: The Toes Are the Best Part | Woolen Diversions

The horror!

Yeah, that’s a lot of fiber. I will caveat that photo by saying that nearly all of the Louet North America fiber bagged int he middle was sent to me for blog review or as #Spinzilla prizes (which is incredibly generous of them!) and a good chunk of the rest of it was gifted (namely the huge balls of Romney roving in bags, the box of locks I really need to get around to washing, and several of the braids in the middle). But I can’t deny that all the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin’ Whorl Club, Three Waters Farm, Bee Mice Elf, and Sweet Georgia fiber were my fault. SORRY, NOT SORRY. It’s lovely stuff. But anyhow, I boxed up a bunch of things that no longer ‘sparked joy’ and will be sending them off to a friend in the spinner’s guild if she wants them to experiment with, as she’s a newer spinner. Then, I went all #KonMarie on my yarn stash, too.

So I’m destashing (again). You can find details on my Ravelry trade page but most things are priced at a steep discount, and if you purchase more than one listing you get an extra 10% off. To make the destashing more efficient, I’ve grouped some of the skeins together into bundles (pictured above) that are even more heavily discounted. So if you’re into laceweight, or sock yarn, or Malabrigo, or KnitPicks, or Berroco, or farm yarn — there’s a bundle for you. Either message me through Rav or send an e-mail to alicia at woolendiversions dot com.

As for this week’s reading, I’m still working my way through the #KonMarie’s Ode to Tidying and the 7th Outlander book, An Echo in the Bone. I’ve also been listening to Nation by Terry Pratchett. It’s an interesting, non-Discworld novel about an island nation that experiences a huge tidal wave and the one surviving boy who deals with the aftermath. It’s a very different style from his Discworld books, though still fantasy-like.I am enjoying the storyline and I’m seeing some hints of the ideas he developed in his The Long Earth series, as well. I’m going to need some new audiobooks to listen to soon, though. I’ve been waiting for the Divergent series to become available from the library but haven’t had luck yet. What would you recommend for listening?

Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday. Also, I wanted to thank you all for your encouraging comments on my last post. It helped me process things to let off a little steam here, and I appreciate your kindly listening!

Oh, What A Life*

This week has been utterly unproductive knit-wise. Because of my destash (that’s still going strong!) I spent lots of time packaging up yarn and in the case of one tricksy skein, I spent 3 entire evenings dealing with this:

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The dreaded yarn barf.

That, friends, is a pile of hopelessly tangled cashmere silk fingering weight yarn barf (on top of my stylin’ PJ pants). It was the worst. THE WORST! I’m not even sure how it got so tangled in the first place. It had been stored wound and when I dug it out of the stash, the outer ‘layers’ of the wound yarn had come off the ball and just instantly formed an impenetrable mass… or something. It was ridiculous. I blame it on the fiber mixture: short cashmere fibers blended with long silk fibers leads to yarn that will never break but does tend to get all caught up on itself in a web of fine, fuzzy fibers when two strands rub together. However it happened, it was evil, but I prevailed.

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I win!

Victory was short-lived however. I was looking forward to a nice, long knit the evening after I mailed off the Tangled Mess when disaster struck — I was changing the water jug at work and somehow banged/tweaked the wrist I had previously injured a couple of weeks ago.

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Back in the brace.

I definitely heard a distinct crunch. The pain is not as sharp as it was last time but I can’t twist or exert force with the wrist… so no knitting for a little bit. I swear, it’s starting to feel like somebody wants me to accomplish exactly zero of my knit-related goals in March. Sigh.

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Twelve-hundred yards of laceweight silk.

At least I finally wound up the yarn I need for my wedding shawl! I should acknowledge that this only happened with the Fiasco’s help. He manually spun my swift-that-sucks-at-spinning while I wound the yarn and man, did those yards just fly by. Teamwork! I’m going out of town this weekend so will not be able to start the shawl until next week but it’s still a step in the right direction so at least that feels good.

Through the magic of Facebook (semi-sarcasm), I cam across a  great article (actually great) called “10 Life Lessons to Excel in Your 30s“. Some guy with a large blog following polled 600 of his readers over the age of 37 and asked them what they would tell their 30-year-old selves if they could go back. The answers were pretty consistent across the board, which makes me think maybe I should pay attention. My favorite section is #10: Be Kind to Yourself, Respect Yourself — which is something I’ve been really trying to focus on this year. In particular, I love this quote from one of the survey participants:

“Be a little selfish and do something for yourself every day, something different once a month, and something spectacular every year.” (Nancy, 60)

It’s perfect… I bet Nancy is a knitter.

*Title inspired by my new favorite song off my new favorite album by my new favorite band: American Authors. You can listen to the song on YouTube here. It’s worth it. The whole album is worth it, really. You’ve probably heard this one before.

FOFri #29: Out with the Old

First news first: I’m having a big ol’ destash on Ravelry at the moment.

DESTASH

Click for Ravelry destash.

The realities of the wedding budget are settling in and I’m sacrificing yarn-y goodness for the success of my future marriage (hahaha so dramatic). But for real, I’m selling a lot of yarn. I have 50 listings on my trade page including Knit Picks, Malabrigo, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Cephalopod Yarns, Verdant Gryphon, Sanguine Gryphon, Madelinetosh, and many other lovely skeins. I am open to inquiries about items on my regular stash page, as well. (Though I reserve the right to decline if the yarn is in use or has plans.) Prices are listed on each stash page and include multi-skein discounts and US shipping. If you purchase multiple listings, I’ll take an additional 5% off the total. Also willing to ship internationally at cost.

Phew! Enough of that. Check out my finished object for this week:

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Itty bitty teeny tiny yarn.

It’s the ittiest bittiest, teeniest tiniest skein of the thinnest yarn I’ve ever spun. If it were a full 4 oz braid and not just a sample, I would’ve ended up with 560 yards of 2-ply — that’s a light fingering weight! How did I spin such a thin yarn, you ask?

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TexasJeans purpleheart Tibetan spindle.

With a gorgeous new addition to my spindle collection! The Spindle Candy board is a dangerous place to hang out, let me tell you. People raved and raved about these TexasJeans supported spindles and when I saw one pop up for sale in purpleheart, I couldn’t resist. If spinning in general is like magic, then supported spinning is like the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It’s magic on steroids. It doesn’t seem like it should be possible to just spin this pointy stick in a bowl and create yarn, but it totally is, and it’s awesome.

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Spinning bunnyfluff.

I’m now using it to spin angora bunny fiber, which is exactly the type of short, delicate fiber that would be difficult to spin on a drop spindle but perfect for a supported spindle. I’m collecting a bunch of links to helpful videos and tutorials that I’ll post about sometime in the future but believe me — supported spindling is fun!

That’s all from me this week. 🙂 Hope you have a great Friday! Check out more FOs at Tamis Amis.

FO Friday #13: Frantic Fracas

This week has been a bit hectic so I’ve only gotten a small bit of knitting done, but the knitting has been anything but frantic. It’s been quite perfect, actually.

Malabrigo Yarn Dos, colorway Zinc

These are my modified version of Hunter Hammersen’s Fracas Cuffs and my 2nd Malabrigo March FO. The yarn was positively dreamy to knit.

That, my friends, is what 2 plies of springy, soft, sport-weight heaven looks like. Revel in its glory, please.

The only thing fracas-like about these cuffs is how badly they’ve got me jonesin’ to knit with more Dos. See, I get like this. I love a yarn, then need to knit everything I can think of with that yarn, and I’m pretty happy that way. Then sometimes a new yarn catches my eye and I destash some (remember, $3 off if you’re a blog reader!) in order to justify frantically hoarding new yarn. But in this case, I’m at a loss because Dos is not readily available, it was a test yarn that may or may not ever really be produced, and I have a third of my skein left over and I MUST KNIT WITH MORE DOS. *ahem* So I had to beg and borrow, wheel and deal but finally one lovely soul is willing to trade her skein (of a different color, unfortunately) for some other yarn I had (see, who cares anymore?) and I suppose that will have to tide me over. Any good ideas for a cute cowl or scarf that uses 2 colorways of sport-weight yarn (~200 yards total)?

Enjoy some other FOs this week by clicking below!

Phase 2: Cast On All The Things

Phase 1 of Malabrigo March was when we Junkies planned and dreamt and hoped our little hearts out. Phase 2 is when we give in to all our worst startitis impulses and simply cast on everything at once.

Malabrigo Rios, colorway Aguas

Malabrigo Dos, colorway Zinc

Malabrigo Rios, colorway Lettuce

Malabrigo Rasta, colorway Plomo

Aren’t they glorious, all in a row like that? Man, I love casting on new projects. (If only I finished them as quickly!) I’ll talk about them more later on, but you can find more details about the patterns here on my project pages, if you’re impatient.

One thought: Malabrigo Dos is amazing. AMAZING. It is a 50 gram/150 yard 2-ply sport weight yarn of the softest Merino wool I’ve ever felt. It was a test yarn so I’m not sure if you can find it for sale anywhere, but the off chance of possibly winning some of it in one of the Malabrigo March contests is enough to keep me motivated to finish my KAL projects, for sure.

An unrelated thought: if you have any Dos lying around that you don’t want, TELL ME I WILL TAKE IT. * ahem.*

A final thought: I did a bit of spring cleaning of the stash and have a mix of different yarns that I’m destashing on Ravelry. Please take a look and let me know if anything interests you! There’s a little bit of  Blue Moon STR, Bugga, Codex, KnitPicks, Madelintosh, and Malabrigo. If you’d like something, be sure to let me know that you read my blog and I’ll take $3 off the price just because you’re awesome. 🙂