Getting Antsy

Spinning has been on my mind a lot lately, even if it hasn’t been actually in my hands. For one, I set a goal back in January that I wanted to finish all my in-progress spinning projects by June. (Cue maniacal laughter.) This goal has helped my pick up my spindles more often, but I haven’t finished a single skein yet. (Sigh.)

For another, the Completely Twisted and Arbitrary SAL group on Ravelry is having a “Crazy Yarn A-long” challenge and I’m itching to play. I started some art yarn ages ago that I’d like to finish. Since I’ve only spun one 4 oz single so far, the other 4+ oz single will count for this challenge. I’m planning a stacked yarn so all the craziness will happen during the plying stage, which seems like it’ll be fun.

Finally, I know I haven’t been spinning enough lately when I see some pretty fiber on Etsy and go MINE, MINE, MINE without a second thought.

That lovely piece of fluff is a ‘Yarnicorn’ batt from Classy Squid Fiber Co.  on Etsy. It’s a delightful mix of superfine Merino wool, Mulberry, Tussah, and Sari silks, mohair, firestar, nylon, silk noil, and angelina. Basically, a candy-colored kitchen sink of a batt that I cannot wait to spin. I’m metaphorically dangling it in front of my face so I hurry-up-and-finish the spin that’s been occupying my wheel since October.

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I Shall Spin Midnight, click for project page.

This spin is essentially the polar opposite of the new batt. It’s 8 oz of Merino/silk blend dyed a uniform black by Louet. I began it when my husband’s Nana passed away, as a way to think about her through craft. Then I got pregnant and we packed and moved and unpacked and it sat, and sat, and sat. It’s going to make a lovely, fingering-weight 2-ply yarn when it’s done but I’m just barely halfway through. I am making a bold April goal right now: I will finish this spin AND the new Yarnicorn batt by the end of the month. And then I’ll finish my art yarn by the end of the challenge (May 15). WATCH ME, WORLD.

In other news, I spent much of the weekend sorting through cloth diapers and baby clothes that friends and coworkers have generously given us. Tiny baby things are so tiny, and the cats were highly amused. Darwin loves laundry in general, but he seemed to especially love lounging on the wool diaper covers. Calypso looked just a tad bit concerned, like she can tell something is up but has no clue WTF it might be… June/July should be interesting for all of us!

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Tour de Fleece Recap & Sweet Sheep News

Have you guys been over to the Knitted Bliss blog yet today? Julie’s been kind enough to post an Indie Business Interview with me for Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe. There’s a special coupon code available to her readers, too, so definitely go check it out!

I’m happy to announce that I have a new handmade soap available for sale: Ocean Mist! It consists of a lovely pale blue aloe vera gel base scented with Sea Moss (gentle, clean, slightly floral) and contains swirls of goat milk soap scented with Down by the Bay (bright, tangy, herbaceous). If you saw my post on Instagram, you’ll know that I was unsure about my first swirl attempt but I really like how the finished soaps look and will definitely be making more.

In spinning news, I’m happy to report that despite my busy weekend, I was able to power through and finish spinning one last Tour de Fleece skein. I spun some undyed Wensleydale top from Three Waters Farm in a 2-ply to coordinate with a gradient skein of Wensleydale I had previously spun. Unfortunately, I was rushing so much that I spun the undyed singles with the opposite twist than I had the gradient skein singles, so the finished skeins do not have the same direction of ply twist. This will likely not matter too much in the finished fabric, but since I do intend to use the skeins together it bugs the attention-to-detail part of me. Now the question is, do I spin the second 4 oz of undyed fiber to match the undyed skein I just finished in case I need more yardage or to match the gradient skein and use the first undyed skein elsewhere?

Tour de Fleece Recap & Sweet Sheep News | Woolen Diversions

Tour de Fleece 2015 finishes

All told, I certainly did not spin every day I was supposed to, but I did spin far more than I would have and managed to spin three skeins from start to finish over the last three weeks. If you ask me, that output isn’t too bad, especially since it’s three more skeins than I likely would have finished without the tour! (See this post for finish details about the other skeins.)

And now another question: what to spin next?! Oh, the possibilities…

WIPWed #100: That’s a Nice Round Number

I’ve reached 100 WIP Wednesday posts, woohoo! Now, that’s not 100 weeks in a row or even 100 weeks of knitting, as there has been plenty more knitting than that, but 100 weeks of cataloging my knits in a systematic way, at least! (You can see all WIPWed posts here, if you’d like.) This week, I have spinning and socks.

My Favorite Socks Ever:

My favorite socks are currently in the toe stage of development, which means they’re almost done! I’m going to wear the bejeezus out of these things come fall. Also, I thought I should illustrate how difficult it is for me to get good blog photos sometimes; I have to fight off kitties for space and light (especially the yarn-hungry Darwin) through the entire photo-taking process.

Stealth Socks:

WIPWed #100

BMFA Socks That Rock Heavyweight, colorway Grimm. Click for project page.

The secret stealth socks are progressing, but not nearly fast enough. I’m on the heel flap of both but need to put some serious time into them this week.

TdF Merino Mind Bullets:

WIPWed #100

BeeMiceElf Merino top, colorway Mind Bullets. Click for handspun page.

Even though they are a pain in the butt to wind neatly, my favorite part of Turkish spinning is the fat little turtles of yarn you get when you take the cop off the spindle. That’s only about 0.5 oz of fiber, so I have a bit more to go *eye roll*.

TdF Dusky Greens:

WIPWed #100

Three Waters Farm Falkland, colorway Greens at Dusk. Click for handspun page.

As I am on the Three Waters Farm Tour de Fleece team, I figured it was about time I started in on some Three Waters Farm fiber. In one evening (!) I spun up 1/3 of a braid of Falkland wool in lovely green shades. I’m planning to make a 3-ply yarn to coordinate with the pound of Falkland I spun up when I first got my wheel. Now if I just had more time to spin… Work is going to be insane through the end of the month and the first couple of weeks of August will be busy with a vacation and a conference, so chances are my posts will be a bit spotty until later in August. I will do my best but if I disappear for a while, that’s why!

As for reading, I started a new book:

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Definitely worth the read.

Some of you may have already heard of the Whole30 program, and even if you have, this book is worth reading to better understand the reasons behind it. The idea of the program is to stop eating certain unhealthy foods for 30 days and see how your body feels. Then you reintroduce them and observe any changes, so that you can make well-informed decisions about your diet in the future. I love this idea. The book does a good job of summing up the very complicated and unclear science of how food interacts with your body. Admittedly, the authors overuse analogies waaaaaaaaaaay too much, but the science they describe is pretty sound and clearly explained. They define unhealthy foods as those that do one (or more) of four things: 1- have an addictive or unhealthy psychological effect, 2- unbalance your hormones, 3- disrupt your gut health, and 4- induce an immune system response. For the most part, these foods include all grains, dairy, legumes, and seed oils. It essentially encourages a Paleo-style diet of protein, veggies, and fruit. For people struggling with their health or their weight while eating what seem like healthy foods, giving this program a try might be worth it. I haven’t done it quite yet, but the diet I did last year was very much like it and since I’ve been slowly-but-surely regaining some of the weight I had lost (despite calorie-counting, yoga, weight-lifting, and walking regularly) it’s worth a try to see if it can get my metabolism-related hormones back in balance.

Also, if you’ll allow me a moment on my soapbox, I think people should read this book so that they realize that obesity is a real biological problem. It’s not just mental (put down the fork!) or about willpower (get up off the couch!), it involves overcoming real biochemical challenges (genetics, metabolism, stress, hormones, brain chemicals) as well as societal pressures (restaurants, ads, easy junk food, peers) at every turn. And for some people, it’s a lifelong freaking struggle, despite doing everything right. It’s a legitimate disease and as far as I can tell, it’s one of the few left that people feel justified in openly mocking and belittling. Next time you have unkind thoughts about a fat person, take a beat and remember that there’s a pretty good chance they’re working on it and it’s not all their fault.

Soapbox done, back to your regularly scheduled knitting! Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesdays.

WIPWed #99: Spinning Through

Tour de Fleece is in full swing and I’m doing what I can to participate. I was away celebrating our first wedding anniversary when it began, but I did take my spindle and some fiber to at least make a start. We got back stupidly late Monday night (more like early Tuesday AM) so yesterday was all about catching up with life, but I did manage to get a couple of ounces spun up on my wheel, as well. Needless to say, my knitting progress has slowed with all this spinning going on, but I’m not complaining. Spinning is quite soothing, despite the old wrist injury that I aggravated by using the grip of death on a crazy carnival ride the Fiasco made me do. (Yeah, I blame him for my wrist pain. That’s what marriage is for!)

TdF Merino Mind Bullets:

WIPWed #99: Spinning Through | Woolen Diversions

Bee Mice Elf Merino top, colorway Mind Bullets. Click for handspun page.

This spin is going to take a good long while, but I’m loving it. That Subterranean Woodworks Turkish spindle is one of my absolute favorites. The weight is perfect, the color makes me happy, and it’s a zippy little spinner.

TdF BFL/Silk Singles:

WIPWed #99: Spinning Through | Woolen Diversions

Bee Mice Elf BFL/Silk, colorway Eggplant in Ashes. Click for handspun page.

I spun one braid of these singles before TdF began (left bobbin), but got a decent 2 oz spun last night while I watched more Vampire Diaries (still obsessed!) and made a few batches of lotion bars (Lavender EO has been restocked and a new scent, Smoky Patchouli, has been added to the shop). Fingers crossed that I can speed through the final 2 oz tonight.

Rotted Days:

WIPWed #99: Spinning Through | Woolen Diversions

Actually using my handspun! Click for project page.

Spending 9 hours in the car over the long weekend lead me to resurrect my handspun Dotted Rays shawl. I’m at the point where the short rows take much longer to get through, so there isn’t as much flipping back and forth and I’ve settled into a nice rhythm with it. I’ve nearly finished my first skein of handspun and desperately need to switch to a larger cable so the shawl won’t look like a pile of mush in photos.

That’s all I’ve really worked on this week. I’m currently in between books right now, although I’m listening to a really good one (Birthmarked by C.M. O’Brien). It’s about a young girl who is a midwife in a post-climate-change society and there is some kind of drama starting between the ‘advanced’ people who live within the walls of the city, and everyone else on the outside. Not deep into it yet but it’s intriguing so far.

And just for fun, here are some pics from our trip to Maine:

Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesdays.

(And congrats to Alexis of CobCottageCraft, the winner of the Myra cowl pattern from my review post and giveaway. Keep an eye out for my e-mail!)

WIPWed #63: Lessons Learned

I’ll start with the bad news… If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen this disaster:

Sock knitter's nightmare.

Oh, woe is me. Click for project page.

Yup, that’s right folks: the special, gorgeous sock that I knit on before my wedding and during my honeymoon does not fit. It fit as a cuff, it fit as a partial leg, but with the longer-than-usual leg length, the less-elastic-than-usual fiber content (BFL instead of Merino), and the smaller-than-usual needle size (US 0 instead of US 1), it just does not have enough stretch to make it over my gigantic arches and heel.  The combination of tightly-knit stockinette and less elastic wool spelled disaster for this sock, even though I added more stitches (68 vs usual 60). I’m considering this a (hard) lesson in the difference in sock yarns. While I was (and still am) excited to try sock yarn made from a longwool breed (I’m hoping the socks will hold up better over time), I now know I need to take the elasticity of the stitch pattern into account. Here are three things I could have done (coulda, woulda, shoulda) to avoid this problem:

  1. Knit a swatch. I might have knit one, but it was probably tiny, and I really don’t remember if I did or not. So knit a big swatch, in the round, and get a good feel for the fabric and its stretchiness (in addition to figuring out how many stitches to cast on).
  2. Knit the cuff and leg on larger needles than the heel/foot/toe. In general, I want the foot/sole of the sock to be super snug but the cuff/leg could use some extra elasticity.
  3. Continue the cuff ribbing all the way down the leg. The difference in stretchiness between the ribbed cuff and the plain stockinette leg is pretty amazing. Basically, if I had knit the leg of this thing with almost any ribbed stitch pattern, I bet it would have fit.

So there you have it, folks. Learn from my mistakes, please! The sock is now in time out until I have the fortitude to face frogging it.

Fiasco De-constructed:

Fiasco - Deconstructed

BMFA STR LW, colorway Sigur Ros. Click for project page.

Since sock weather is swiftly approaching, I grabbed an already-in-progress sock to continue working on while I figure out what to do with the BFL pair. (Don’t worry, this one fits.)

Sweet Codex Shawl:

Sweet Codex Shawl

SG Codex, colorway The Lioness of Brittany. Click for project page.

Because I needed a win, and because I have a wedding to attend in October, I cast on a simple shawl in one of my favorite yarns, using a tried-and-true pattern. The yarn is the incomparable Codex (52% silk, 48% BFL) and the pattern is the Sweet November Knit Shawl designed by Caryl Pierre. It’s mindless and soothing and just the thing right now.

Sweet Companion:

Sweet Companion | Woolen Diversions

CY Traveller, colorway Hobart, IN. Click for project page.

I tried and did not like the hat pattern I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. So instead, I’m designing my own hat to accompany the Honey Cowl I plan to knit with the rest of this yarn. I think it’s going to make a pretty snazzy set, if I do say so myself.

Tarnished Yak:

Tarnished Yak | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Yak/Silk fiber on my Jenkins Aegean.

I’m making slow-but-steady progress on my Jenkins Fall SAL spin. My goal is to spin 2 oz by the end of September. I have quite a ways to go yet…

Seaglass:

Seaglass | Woolen Diversions

Miss Babs Merino/Silk in Seaglass on my Enid Ashcroft Mini.

I’ve decided that bringing an itty bitty Turkish spindle to work is totally acceptable behavior. It sits on my desk and I give it a flick every now and again while I’m waiting for something on the computer to load or while my office mate is chatting. Even if I don’t spin anything, seeing it there makes me happy. As you can see by all the yarn in the temporary cop (wrapped around the shaft), spinning during those little idle moments can add up!

Phew! That WIP roundup has been a long time coming. I hope you’ve been making progress on things, as well! Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis.

WIPWed #57: Still Spinning Through

I’m having another one of those weeks when deadlines are all-consuming, work and home and wedding things are being juggled every minute, and there is very little time for crafting (or relaxing, or sleeping, etc.). At such times, I tend to lack the brainpower for knitting and prefer to spin during spare moments when I can snatch them. I also tend to stash enhance (if you can’t knit ’em, buy ’em?) so a little bit of that has happened, as well.

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Capar spindles large Turkish in teak and maple.

The last of my Great Spindle Splurge of ’14 has arrived. This is a large size Turkish spindle made by a relatively new spindle seller, Wayne Capar. People on the Spindle Candy and Spindemania boards raved about these spindles and compared them favorably to Jenkins turks, which are much harder to get right now, so I figured I’d give the large size a try.

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Jenkins Aegean on left, Capar large on right.

The two spindles spin quite differently. The Aegean is tinier and lighter and does not have a very long spin. It is also more of a mid-whorl spindle. The Capar large is heavier but has a much  longer spin and I feel like I get a better flick with the longer shaft. I like them both very much and look forward to seeing how differently they spin the same fiber in the spindle experiment I’m working on with Louet merino/silk fiber.

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Gorgeous braids from Three Waters Farm.

More fiber came to live with me recently, too. Every quarter the Completely Twisted and Arbitrary spinning group on Rav hosts a spin-along during which a talented indie dyer comes up with special colorways for us and there is much stash-enhancing, spinning, prize-awarding, and reveling in handspun awesomeness. It’s generally impossible to resist joining in. This quarter’s SAL with Three Waters Farm ends this month and while I tried to resist, I failed, and obtained the lovely Teal Tonal colorway on a BFL base, the Dark Sweet Cherries on Merino/Superwash Merino/Silk base, and a gorgeous undyed ecru braid of Merino/Silk top.

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Teal Tonal on BFL, begun.

Which, yes, means that I’m going to attempt to finish spinning 4 oz of BFL in Teal Tonal by the end of the month. HAHAHAHA oh my ambitions. Luckily, BFL is usually a nice and easy spin for me, so I’m still harboring delusions that it will happen.

What have you been working on this week? Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis!

Pretty Pastels

Spring brings out my love of pastels and light neutrals. This trend is obvious in both my stash enhancement and my spinning of late. Remember the pretty Ginkgo Shawl I raved about for Inspiration Saturday? Well, last week, BMFA was having a crazy sale on Silkie STR (25% off!) and I saw these colors and how could I resist?

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silkie Socks That Rock

The first and second skeins (Single Cell Dating Pool and What’saabi) will become the Ginkgo Shawl. The third skein, Siren Song, is destined to become a summery scarf, perhaps the Montego Bay Scarf (which I’ve had queued for pretty much my entire knitting life). If you haven’t knit with it before, Silkie STR is a blend of 81% superwash merino and 19% silk, which gives the skeins that fun barberpole effect that knits up with a gently heathered look. It’s going to be difficult not to wind these up and cast them on immediately!

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Miss Babs destash dye skeins

And then my dear friend and knitterly-partner-in-crime Katy informed me of a truly astounding sale on the Miss Babs website: undyed Merino/yak/silk DK weight yarn at a crazy destash price. Miss Babs was destashing them because she had decided the yarn base didn’t really fit into her inventory and I just couldn’t resist such a luxury yarn. Amazing. It’s all gone now, which is for the best because actually feeling it made me want to stash even more. It’s a really interesting shade of natural grey with a slight tan undertone. It will become a sweater sometime in August, which is when Katy and I decided we’d force each other to finally knit some sweaters. Yay!

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Miss Babs Merino/Tussah Silk top. Colorway Beachglass.

I didn’t want the yak blend to get lonely so a braid of Merino/Tussah silk fiber came along for the ride, as well. I wanted some fine fiber to mess around with on my supported spindle after I finish the angora I’m spinning. What angora, you say?

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TexasJeans Tibetan spindle with angora fiber.

After I finished a little test skein on my new spindle I began using it to spin up an ounce of prime plucked angora (bunny fur) that I had gotten at the New England Fiber Festival in the fall. Angora is… interesting to spin. It is very light and fluffy and not grippy at all. The ends stick out everywhere. It doesn’t draft particularly easily… yet, I’m still enjoying it. It’s new to me and it’s an excellent candidate for supported spinning. I think it would probably be hellish on a drop spindle or wheel. It definitely requires patience and lots of park-and-draft. Depending on how much yardage I get out of my little ounce, I’d like to ply it with a few plies of pretty purple Shetland fiber dyed by Porpoise Fur. I think it will make a lovely yarn.

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Jenkins Aegean with a Nunoco batt.

I’ve been slowly savoring my Nunoco batt spinning for the Jenkins “Just Batty” challenge. The deadline for this is in June but I’m not in a hurry. I like spinning batts and I’m getting the hang of neatly winding on to a Turkish spindle. It takes more time than I’d like to wind on neatly but it sure looks pretty.

So those are all the pastels in my life right now. What about you? Do you go through color phases?

Yarn Crawl Haul

This past weekend was the Great Rhody Yarn Crawl and while I could only stop at 3 stores and the culmination festival at Mount Hope Farm, I still somehow managed to make off with a respectable haul (imagine that).

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The aforementioned haul.

I was so overcome by the lovely little project bags sold by Dancing Threads RI that I couldn’t decide between the zippered pouch or the drawstring bag… so I bought both (woops). It couldn’t be helped. The fabrics were essentially made for me and I’m always short a project bag or two. I have a sock in the zippered pouch already. I feel like they could each be just an inch taller in size but overall I love them. I especially like that the drawstring on the bag is a nice solid canvas rope and not a dinky ribbon that my cats will chew through the second I turn my back (ooooh, Darwin).

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Cashmere and possum and silk, oh my!

At Eneri Knits I purchased a new purple Knit Kit (the measuring tape on my old one recently bit the dust) and an exquisitely tiny and luxurious ball of Zealana Air laceweight. I’d been intrigued since I read about the yarn in one of Clara Parkes’ reviews. I’ve been wanting to make the Yarn Harlot’s Pretty Thing cowl for a while and this itty bitty skein of luxury yarn will be just the right match.

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Branching out into more plant-based fibers. Here – linen.

At The Mermaid’s Purl I snagged a couple of skeins Shibui Linen yarn. It’s a fingering weight, chain construction yarn that should be interesting to knit with (to say the least). I might go back and get another white or exchange the green for the white as I’m not quite sure what I want to make with this yarn yet, but I know I’d like a summery little scarf/shawl of some kind. I’m considering the two-color slipped-stitch shawl Bryum, but I think I’ll need another skein for decent yardage. We’ll see!

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Ahhhhh, pretty pretty Anzula.

Turns out that deciding to visit Love 2 Knit at the last minute was an excellent idea, since in addition to taking part in the crawl they were also having an Anzula Yarns trunk show! There were so many lovely skeins there, guys. SO MANY. All luxurious, all wonderful. It was ridiculously difficult to choose just one, but I managed. I decided to take home Oasis, a 70%/30% DK-weight blend of silk and camel. It is delightful and I’m already eying up the Amalthea pattern for it.

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Shiny!

My favorite part of the yarn crawl weekend is the culmination festival at Mount Hope Farm. There’s a big barn full of local-ish vendors (half of which I know by sight if not by name now from the RI guilds!), people everywhere sitting around knitting and spinning, a food truck, and usually some fiber animals lurking about. One of the vendors I can never resist purchasing from is Christee of Play At Life Fiber Arts. Her gradient colorways are just SO FUN, I love them. In fact, I had to click away from her Etsy shop quickly before I bought something else (oh boy). Pictured above is a super shiny blend of 50% superwash Merino wool and 50% Tencel. Should be a fun and slippery spin!

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Big box of Louet fiber.

And if all that yarn-y gluttony wasn’t enough, tonight I came home to a big ol’ box full of Louet fiber — FOUR POUNDS worth! There’s some gorgeous merino/silk top as well as some of their breed-specific Canterbury Prize wools including Jacob, Shetland, and Perendale (which I’m especially excited to work with because I’ve never even heard of that breed). I am going to have a lot of fun playing with these different fibers, keep an eye out for reviews! I plan to start spinning one of these breeds for the April Spring Training challenge… but how to choose?!

Hope you had a woolly and wonderful weekend, too!

Going Batty

There are so many spin-alongs happening right now that I don’t even know where to start! I guess first I’ll chat about what I’m most excited to spin: the Jenkins Woodworking “Just Batty” Challenge.

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Gorgeous Nunoco batts!

The Jenkins Woodworking Lovers group is a very active, enthusiastic group of spinners on Ravelry full of people who really, really love their Jenkins spindles.They organized a great little SAL for April – June where we each chose 5 batts that we would like from Nunoco fibers, then purchased one batt that our downstream partner liked and received one batt from our upstream partner — so we ended up with 50 grams in a colorway that we expected and 50 grams of a surprise colorway that was in our list of favorites.

My two colorways: Hafgan and Underwater Love

My two colorways: Hafgan and Underwater Love

I’m really enjoying spinning my batts. One of the first ‘nice’ yarns I ever spun was made from a batt and I just love the way that the light, fluffy preparation drafts. A well-done, drum-carded batt makes such a nice, smooth yarn — even when there are ‘bumpy’ additions to the fibers, the light preparation drafts more evenly for me. I like the way that the different fibers play off each other in the mix, too.

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My pretty Aegean spindle, wearing some Hafgan.

I also finally learned how to wind a neat and pretty cop (or ‘turtle’ as they’re called in the bottom-whorl Turkish spindle world). The Simply Notable blog has a great photo tutorial on fancy cop winding that shows the process clearly. I’ll be spinning each of the Nunoco batts separately and then plying them together, it should make a pretty, subtly-shifting, pastel skein. I predict some really wild yarns from some of the batt combinations that the other SAL participants received, so it’ll be exciting to see the results!

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Alpaca carded with blue/green silk.

I’ve also continued working on my third Spin the Bin challenge skein, 5 oz of alpaca that I carded with about 2 oz of silk. I have to admit, I don’t know how the people at Nunoco create such smooth, even batts because I just did not have the patience for it. I used the drum carder only a handful of times in the month that I had rented it and then gladly gave it back. As far as I’m concerned, I’d rather spend my time spinning and leave the batt-blending work to the artists who are really good at it!

There are two more ongoing SALs of which I’m aware. You can read about one over at the Porpoise Knits blog. Briefly, the goal is to spin samples of every yarn (or even just some of them!) described in Chapter 2 of The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Design, which I’ve previously blogged about here. I love this book and think this SAL is a crazy, crazy idea… so I love it even more. Whether I get a chance to actually do it is another story, but I’d certainly like to make some time to try. Come join us over in the Porpoise Pod group if you decide to play along, too!

In case you’re unfamiliar, Rachel of Porpoise Fur (I freakin’ love that name) is a dyer of beautiful British wools.

The last spin-along I wanted to chat about is sponsored by Louet and The Woolery, an amazing source for spinning equipment and supplies. It’s a 3-month long ‘spring training’ event for which each month involves new techniques, goals, and prizes. You can play along in either or both the Louet or Woolery Ravelry groups. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do for this one yet, either, but it just might involve that Shetland fiber pictured above, since one of the goals is to spin some different sheep breeds. You can find more details over on Stefanie’s blog at Handmade by Stefanie. Check it out!

(Note: I’ve recently become an affiliate of The Woolery. If you click on a link to their site from here and subsequently make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage. I really enjoy their store and am happy to support a company I believe in. I also aim to respect my readers by keeping them informed, so now you know!)

Workin’ On The Weekend

I spent this weekend as a busy, busy little bee and it felt amazing. I haven’t had 2 days to myself in so long and I got quite a few things accomplished that have been on my list for a while.

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Sweet Sheep Solid Lotion Bars, in progress!

I finally finally finally had some serious time to devote to the lotion bars that so many of you volunteered to test several weeks ago. I tweaked the formula a bit more and came up with something that I now really, really love — your input was invaluable, THANK YOU! I (mostly) set up my (forthcoming) Etsy shop, made lots of business-related decisions, ordered a few more things I need before I can open things up, and made a few dozen full- and sample-sized bars to start off with. Things are getting exciting! I also set up a little info page on the blog as well as a Facebook page for the shop, if you’re interested in following and finding out exactly when I open my virtual doors! (I’m getting super psyched, can you tell?! Overuse of reclamation points!!! YES!!!!!)

Now my big question: what’s your favorite type of fragrance? What would you like to smell on your hands/body if you used the lotions? There are literally hundreds of fragrances available from my supplier of pretty much anything you can imagine. I have an undeniable bias towards sweet, fruity, vanilla-y scents and I have a sneaking a suspicion that perhaps not everyone will want to go around smelling like cake. Any suggestions of scents you like would be much appreciated!

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This is basically just for proof of making the deadline.

I finished the handspun I was making for the CTA Pigeonroof Fibers spin-along, just in the nick of time because the deadline was today! I finished plying at 1 a.m. and was too tired to wind the second bobbin off into a skein (that’s tonight’s job). I’ll post more info and better glamor photos when both skeins are fully washed and dried because let me tell you, the first skein is so fluffy and delightful after drying, it deserves a better photoshoot. Scroll through all the other beautiful skeins produced in the group here.

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Squoosh Fiber Arts Rapture, colorway Raven. Click for project page.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand finally, I also finished my Loch hat, designed by tin can knits. I am not sure if this hat is entirely flattering on me, it’s essentially a slightly slouchy beanie… like it’s not sure if it wants to be all-the-way-slouchy or not. It’s just sort of an odd shape on my head, though I believe it’s so slouchy because the Merino/cashmere/silk blend yarn relaxed a lot with blocking (so not due to the pattern). Or perhaps I just have a small head. Either way, I do like the FO because I needed a black hat and the sport-weight fabric is really great for spring. It’s making me want to knit more lightweight hats, now!

Phew, that was a lot! See, didn’t I tell you I’ve been busy? Hope you all had great weekends, too!