Spinning & Spring Cleaning

I hope those of you in the northeast were able to get outside and enjoy the first really nice weekend we’ve had in far too long! The weather was gorgeous: 60-ish degrees and sunny. On Sunday, the Fiasco and I went for our first little hike of the season. It was really just a stroll through old farmlands that have been converted to a wildlife refuge, but it was fun to get out and stretch our legs, see some shorebirds (ospreys! herons!), and watch fat tadpoles wriggling in the pond. (My apologies for the lack of photos, I took many but have not yet had a chance to upload them.)

Spinning & Spring Cleaning

#MegaSAL spinning!

I also had lots of time for spinning this weekend, which felt like a luxury. Saturday was the monthly meeting of the Rhode Island Spinner’s Guild and it was great to catch up with friends and twirl away on my Discworld-themed #MegaSAL spinning. The season of sheep and wool festivals is upon us and I am eagerly anticipating more group spinning in the near future. For those of you in the area, this weekend is the Great Rhody Yarn Crawl which culminates in a great little vendor marketplace on Sunday at Mt. Hope Farm in Bristol, RI. Grab a passport, get it stamped at some yarn stores, and enter raffles full of yummy prizes. The RISG spinners will be there hanging out, so stop by and say hello. (Unfortunately, the venue was too small for Sweet Sheep to grab vendor space, but I will be selling at the Mt. Hope Farmer’s Market the day before! Come check us out on Saturday 4/18 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.)

In other news, I’ve been sucked in to the #KonMarie cleaning craze. Do I believe that folding my clothes carefully will impart them with an energized ‘sheen’ of love and respect (to paraphrase)? No. However, her system for folding such that each item is visible makes a good bit of a sense and I can honestly say that my sock drawer has never looked prettier. My clothing storage was due for an overhaul anyway since I’ve been focused on weight loss this last year and a half. I’m wary of throwing out all of my larger clothes since obesity is a lifelong disease and while weight can be managed and forced into ‘remission’ of sorts, it often comes back and I’ve been bitten before. However, since I’ve maintained a 60-lb weight loss for over 6 months now, I feel safe in donating some of the largest sizes. (Although I’ve discovered an unnatural affection for t-shirts from my college days. So what if I have a dozen of them, most of them holey and stained and too big? Keeping.) Six hours and three trash bags later, I feel happy with the state of things and look forward to tackling additional categories (books, yarn, papers, miscellany). I was inspired to give this all a try by reading more detailed thoughts on the process on the Nearly There and With Pointed Sticks blogs, you should check out their posts!

Last but not least, I was featured on Sherrill’s blog as a spotlight spinner! If you’re not familiar with her, Sherrill began the popular #spin15in15 hashtag on Instagram in order to encourage us all to spin for 15 minutes a day, and share it with others. She makes beautiful tags for handspun yarns and sends many out as prizes. I’ll be sending her some sample sized lotion bars to give out as prizes, as well, since I just love admiring all the pretty #spin15in15 projects. Follow her on Instagram (@baabonnybelle) and be sure to tag your own spinning posts!

And that was my weekend in a nutshell. How about yours? What kind of spring cleaning routines do you have?

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WIPWed #86: #MegaSAL, Here I Come!

Since finishing the Fiasco’s socks and failing to finish my MalMarch projects, I’ve taken embraced sock-knitting-for-me thus far this April.

Tropical Traveler:

I’ve been itching to knit these socks (from the January shipment of the Rockin’ Sock Club) for weeks and it’s been wonderful to pick them back up again, guilt-free. I think my new system of knitting sort-of-two-at-time (by having two pairs of DPNs and alternating between socks as I go) is working rather nicely, for I have not one but two socks that both have heels right now. I wanted to try a different heel out of Lara Neel’s Sock Architecture book, so I went with the square heel for this pair. Flaps and gussets work really well for me (high arches!) and I didn’t want to stray far from what I know already works, but it was fun to change things up a little bit.

Magrat MegaSAL:

WIPWed #86:

Nest superwash Merino, click for handspun page.

Since I couldn’t wait any longer, I just barely began spinning my Nest superwash Merino fiber dyed in the Magrat colorway for the Discworld-themed #MegaSAL that I wrote about previously. Because I clearly never want to finish this yarn, I’ve decided to try spinning it entirely on my Subterranean Woodwork medium Turkish spindle. I am probably the slowest spindle spinner on the planet (I just seem to get so much more done on the wheel) but I really want to challenge myself to make good use of my spindles, and two weeks seems like enough time to give it the ol’ college try. Besides, the spindle is fun to use and the fiber is nearly irresistible to touch (so fluffy!) so I have hope. Are you joining in for this SAL? I’d love to see your projects!

MalMarch Nube:

WIPWed #86: #MegaSAL, Here I Come!

Malabrigo Nube, colorway Persia. Click for handspun page.

Fear not, I haven’t completely forsaken the spinning project I aimed to finish in March. I haven’t sat down at the wheel yet this week because I’m still a little wary of tweaking my back again (damn long draw motions) but I’ve been faithfully carding up the rest of the fiber I have into fluff-tastic rolags. Hopefully this weekend I’ll be able to find some time to sit at the wheel.

As for reading (to link up with Yarnalong), I’ve been tearing through the sixth Outlander book (nearly done!) and have just started to listen to Nation by Terry Pratchett on audiobook. It’s not a Discworld novel, but I enjoy reading/listening to anything he writes. I recently finished the first book in The Long Earth series (co-authored with Stephen Baxter) and it was really fascinating, I can’t wait until the remaining books become available at the library, although I’m afraid they may not have finished the series before Terry passed away. It’s essentially about people who can step from one Earth to another, if you imagine Earth as a deck of cards with our Earth in the middle and multiple copies of the planet that experienced all sorts of different history, events, and evolution expanding out to infinity on either side. This leads to the existence of nifty creatures, societies, and ecosystems that humans could then have access to. (I love scifi, especially biologically-nerdy scifi.) Highly recommend.

And as for life, tomorrow I’m going to see my new favorite band crush in concert and couldn’t be more excited: Walk the Moon. The single they have out on the radio right now, Shut Up & Dance, is basically instant happiness for me. I think Anna Sun is probably my favorite song of theirs,  however, and this is probably my favorite video:

It’s just so dumb and joyful and fun, it brings me right back to my college days. The main dude looks like he is barely 20 years old, so I’m a little bit worried that we’ll be the oldest people in the room but likely not and I suppose, who cares, right? (This is me trying to get ok with being 30 and no longer the target audience of bands like this. * sob *)

She Lives!

It was touch-and-go for a while there (not really, mind you, I’m exaggerating for effect) but I think I might just live. Basically, as soon as my back stopped feeling like there was a hot poker between my ribs, I was plagued by the worst sore throat I’ve had in years. This was followed by a sinus infection of epic proportions, which conveniently (SARCASM!) coincided with a road trip to help my mom recover from a surgery over the long weekend.

She Lives! | Woolen Diversions

Nest Superwash Merino, colorway Magrat.

I returned home snot-nosed, hoarse-voiced, congested, and emotionally drained… and proceeded to not sleep at all, for an entire night. I laid there staring up at the ceiling straight through to the dawn. I managed to sleep for a few hours this morning, however, and have begun to feel somewhat more human. My mom is recovering well, and despite all that it was a nice visit home, so things are looking up. It didn’t hurt that I had a couple of nice fiber-y packages waiting in the mail when I returned, either. (If you don’t wish to be spoiled for the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin’ Sock Club colorway, look away now!)

Pictured above is the one precious bump of Nest Superwash Merino fiber in the Magrat colorway that I managed to grab for the Discworld Mega-SAL being held on Ravelry. I intend to begin spinning it just as soon as I can finish my Malabrigo Nube spin. And pictured below might just be my favorite skein of sock yarn… possibly ever.

She Lives! | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight, colorway Gran’s Kitchen.

The colorway for the March shipment of the RSC is soooooooooooooo up my alley, I adore it. I love the minty aqua, the gentle gray, the streaks of white. Those soft, soothing, breath-of-fresh-air hues are just what I’m craving at the moment. I don’t love either of the patterns that came with this shipment, however, so I’m on the hunt for the perfect pattern for this skein. It has a rather short, stripey color sequence that is prone to pooling, so the pattern will need some bold lines and/or good overall texture to show up well. I’ve narrowed it down to 4 ideas:

  1. Quartzonite by Rose Hiver – An all-over textured lace that angles the fabric in different ways, which would make thin stripes look all cool and wavy.
  2. Louche by Hunter Hammersen – Twisted stitched interspersed with wide swaths of stockinette that should hold up nicely to variegation.
  3. Smokestack Socks by Tanis Lavallee – A nice texture/cable combo with strong vertical lines that should show up well through striping or pooling.
  4. Leyburn Socks by MintyFresh – Slipped stitches create a fun effect in variegated yarns and since someone is already making a pair, I know it’ll look pretty good.

Which would you make?

P.S. I wanted to say a general THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who participated in the product survey for Sweet Sheep! I received 91 responses and some really great feedback, I’m looking forward to many happy hours of analyzing and scheming. The winners of the giveaway have all been notified by e-mail (check your inboxes) but I’ll also say congrats here to Valerie, Victoria, Lisa, Sweta, Stephanie, Annie, Shelley, Erica, Christina, and Kathy! Your input is much appreciated. And to everyone who participated, please remember that your coupon codes are valid through the end of May!

Discworld Has Lost Its Greatest Wizard

If you’re a fan of the Discworld series, you may have already heard that its author, Terry Pratchett, has passed away.

Photo from Terry Pratchett’s facebook page. Click for link.

I do not know how, but I do know that he was developing early-onset Azheimer’s which must have been hell for a writer with such a brilliant, witty, and creative mind. I first discovered the genre of comedic/satiric/sci-fi/fantasy through The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (who also died far too young). I was sad that there wasn’t more of his work to read, and then I discovered Terry Pratchett’s writing, and was thrilled. It was similar to Adams’ work in that it was hilarious, but it was even more satirical, witty, and fantastical than I could have hoped. Not to mention abundant: there are aver 40 books in the series, which means I could live in that zany world as long as I wanted. It isn’t up to date with the newest books, but this reading guide will get you started in understanding which books correspond to which general group of characters in plot order. My favorites are the books involving Death and the witches. I read the books in order of publication, beginning with The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, but either way you approach the series (in publication order or by character group) will work.

Magrat colorway. Photo copyright Jennifer of Nest Fiber. Click for website.

Just the other day, Jillian’s posted on the KnittyBlog about a Discworld-themed MegaSAL (spin-along) that’s happening right now on Ravelry. Six amazing dyers have created Discworld-themed colorways for the SAL, which will run from from April 1 – June 30. Yesterday I was able to grab my first ever braid of Nest fiber, dyed in the Magrat colorway, inspired by one of the witches in the series. Come visit the Ravelry group for details about joining in and for a thread full of info and chatter about Terry’s amazing books. The timing of his death in the middle of this fiber-y celebration of his work is really powerful, and I know what I’ll be thinking about as I spin along.

In the words of the beautifully personified Death, “THERE IS NO JUSTICE, THERE IS JUST US.”

So long, Terry, and thanks for all your words.