Rhinebeck Reminiscing

Only slightly delayed, here’s my Rhinebeck recap! Rhinebeck was fun (obviously) but also super, duper busy. It’s different with a kid, and major props to the Fiasco for being there to care for the Hatchling while I was spending extra time at the festival. It wasn’t quite the relaxing family vacation we’d envisioned, but we’ll just have to plan for another one of those to make up for it.

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IndieUntangled acquisition.

We arrived on Friday, to an incredible AirBnB apartment in Saugerties. (Seriously, it was lovely, we didn’t ever want to go home.) We went for dinner, visited The Perfect Blend Β yarn and tea shop (they had a great spread going for knit night), and then arrived for the last half hour of the IndieUntangled Trunk Show and HOLY MOSES was it crowded. The instant claustrophobia kind of crowded, and of course many of the indie maker booths I wanted to see where slammed and inaccessible. However, I did manage to fight my way through to the Spun Right Round booth and acquired a lovely skein of 4-ply SW Merino Classic sock yarn in the neon-and-speckled Caterpillar colorway. (For all pics below, click to embiggen and hover for captions.)

As a super mega epic forever fan, the first thing we did after waiting in line for tickets (where Katy offered an assist in finishing the Hatchling’s sweater in time for Rhinebeck) was rush over to The Fold’s booth to check out the Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarns. There’s nothing like seeing a wall of Tina’s colorways in person! Since I have literally every skein of BMFA yarn that I’ve ever acquired from previous years at Rhinebeck still in stash, I refrained from buying more… somehow.

The rest of Saturday was long and filled to the brim with yarn, sheep, beautiful knit samples (at the Fiber Optic Yarns booth), a ridiculously long donut line for closing time, and a cranky toddler in need of a nap. He and the Fiasco went back to the AirBnB but then Katy and I stuck it out through the end of the festival which was a HUGE MISTAKE because there was so much traffic getting back that we missed getting dinner with the fellas and I got a little cranky.

Sunday morning we resisted the call of the festival to go for a bit of a hike, which was a great idea because it was a gorgeous morning and I don’t get outside nearly as much as I need to. We did a quick and easy trail to the Saugerties lighthouse on the Hudson River. It was delightful, many sweet and silly photos were taken, and the scenery was gorgeous.

I rather surprisingly don’t have many pictures of the second day besides the animal-themed ones above. I managed to meet up with a few Ravelry friends (although I missed most of the official meetups) and I think we were all a little wiped out by that point so we mostly just got lunch and speed-shopped that barns that we hadn’t visited yet. Which brings me to…

Besides the Spun Right Round skein from IndieUntangled, other pretties that came home with me included:

  • Six mini skeins from Primrose Yarn Co. to make a Tool Box Cowl (theoretically);
  • a skein of Into The Whirled Shokan Singles in The Cat’s Pyjamas;
  • a Jenkins Kuchulu Turkish spindle (the tiniest one I own!) in tulipwood;
  • an ounce of cashmere fluff; and
  • a little wooly sheep coin purse (courtesy of Katy).

I’m happy that I aimed to fill a niche in my stash that is underrepresented: speckles. These were also all new-to-me dyers, and I didn’t have any cashmere in the fiber stash before now. The only purely gratuitous purchase was the spindle, but I couldn’t help myself! Jenkins spindles are really hard to come by and I’ve been curious about their tiny model for some time. And so far, it’s a pleasure to spin short-stapled fluffy cashmere on because it’s so tiny and lightweight.

Do you shop with a purpose at festivals, or just tend to go with your impulses? I held myself back from many impulse purchases but it actually felt pretty good.

 

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Less Blogging, More Knitting

While I might be blogging less than I’d like, I am managing to knit more than I have been! And thus I am rewarded with a finished thing.

This cowl is the Skye Boat Cowl pattern by Judy Marples (I love basically everything she designs) and the ridiculously pretty yarn is some long-gone Verdant Gryphon Zaftig (worsted weight merino/cashmere/nylon) in the Burying Beetle equivalent colorway. I used two skeins and the cowl is a comfortable length to wear draped around the neck, it won’t work doubled up, but the fabric is tall/wide enough that it’s still cozy and warm. The yarn is so squishy and delicious, and the variegated colorway works great with the the stitch pattern.

I also really like that the stitch pattern looks great on the wrong side, as well. The slipped stitch ribbing makes a nice edge, and the three-needle bindoff is a simple finish. Basically, I loved everything about this knit. I actually finished knitting it months and months ago but took a long time to get up the motivation to block it, bind off, and weave in ends. Turns out it’s a lot harder to find time, energy, and floor space for finishing projects when you have a toddler.

Oliver is 15.5 months old now and is a ridiculous amount of fun. He’s a big fan of walking everywhere himself now, exploring outside, and scooping things up with spatulas and spoons. Being his parent is getting more and more fun as he’s getting older. I looooooooved the tiny helpless newborn stage but I don’t think anybody would call it fun. But now there are regular tickle fights and games and goofy gestures and so much dancing and many, many books. He even says “mum mum” in this sweet little voice and I’m reasonably sure he’s referring to me and not the cats. It’s amazing.

Work has been insane since about July, when a coworker left and I took over his projects and it’s been deadline after deadline after deadline. There have been many late nights and weekends working. So many that the Fiasco and a good friend of mine and Oliver and I are escaping for a weekend trip to go to Rhinebeck in < 2 weeks. This knitter needs a vacation and Rhinebeck is the perfect little escape to remind me that I am a creative person who might someday have time for hobbies again. I have an modest yet ambitious goal of finishing spinning that pink yarn that’s been on my wheel/spindles since (hold onto your hats) $%@#ing 2014 and knitting myself a pussyhat with it, since I’ve knit many for others but none for myself. We’ll see if I actually manage it in time…

Are you going to Rhinebeck, or another fiber festival? Do you have any project goals?

WIPWed #125: Back to Socks

I’m starting to feel more like my old crafty self again: I have an active pair of socks on the needles!

Waiting for Hatchling

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Fingering, colorway Royals. Click for project page.

I have been trying to turn the above yarn into socks since before my wedding and honeymoon in 2014. (Yikes!) I knit an entire plain stockinette sock that I then had to frog because it was too small. I did not account for the fact that BFL has less stretch than Merino wool and I should’ve increased my cast on more. This time, I’m using a pattern with texture and ribbing (Aramis by Caoua Coffee) and cast on more stitches which should loosen things up. I started these while I was pregnant but my hands and joints were always tired and sore then and I hated fiddling with the small needles. Things feel back to normal now, though, so here’s hoping I get to actually wear these socks someday soon!

Wine Toasts

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The Verdant Gryphon Zaftig, Kiss of Cabernet and Russian Sage. Click for project page.

These are super simple armwarmers that I’m making extra big and toasty to wear withΒ  3/4 length sleeve sweaters in my chilly office. I am currently in a game of yarn chicken with the deep wine colorway. A friend of mine has a backup skein if this one is not enough, which is a good thing because it appears that The Verdant Gryphon is no more. Gryphon herself is now living and working on a commune with her daughter, and the people she left the business to were not able to keep it going. I feel like a chapter of my knitterly life is ending! I’ve been deeply in love with VG yarns since I discovered them in 2010, when they were still teamed up with Cephalopod Yarns as The Sanguine Gryphon. My first skein was Bugga in the Cowkiller colorway that I knit up into one of my favorite shawls.

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This was 5 apartments ago… ha!

Looks like I’ve always had a thing for Gryphon’s reds. Sigh. As with CY, VG yarns will be missed, but man am I glad I have a nice stash to sustain me for a while. #justified

Tropical Merino

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Wooldancer 19.5 Micron Merino. Click for handspun project page.

I started spinning this fiber way back in 2014 as well (wow, have I completed anything in the last 3 years!?) on a tiny Turkish spindle. Even though the Women’s March on Washington is over, I’d still like a Pussyhat of my own (I donated the others) and since I am out of pink yarn, I figured I’d make some. To speed up the process, I’ve also started spinning this fiber on my wheel and on my new Bosworth Mini spindle. The singles are very thin so I’m thinking I’ll 2-ply and then chain ply that 2-ply yarn to get a bulkier 6-ply. We’ll see how that works out!

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Current reading.

I haven’t tracked my reading in a while but since I’m finally starting to read things OTHER than parenting-related, get-my-kid-to-sleep, what-should-his-poop-look-like type books, I figured I’d share. And since the March for Science has got me all fired up, I’m doing some science-y reading for fun. (Because #scienceisreal! It’s not made up! Experts know what they’re talking about! The world around us can be understood!) This book is all about the different forms that sexual reproduction takes within the animal kingdom, so that should be fascinating. It’s refreshing to read a work written just because the author was curious about something, so they went and researched and figured it out.

What have you been reading these days? Linking up for the first time in a LONG time with Yarnalong.

Spindle Happy

Goodness knows I have an abundance of spindles. (Remember that time I thought I’d clear all my spindle spinning projects off in the few months I had before the baby was born? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, I’m so funny.) But when I learned that Journey Wheel (a.k.a. the makers of Bosworth spindles) were going to be at the Knitting Weekend market, I knew without a doubt that I’d be adding to my collection.

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My new friends.

Bosworth drop spindles are among the best of the best. They’re prized by some of the most prominent spindle spinners in the business, and for good reason. They’re beautiful, perfectly balanced, and have a long, smooth spin. I’ve been wanting one for a long time but have been reluctant to order online because I didn’t know how to tell which one I wanted based just on a description of the size and type of wood. I really needed to see them in person and actually try a few out. Some I liked the look of didn’t spin as nicely as I wanted. One of my spinner friends was right when she said you have to find one that clicks for you.

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Blurry pic of the Midi spindle and Rag Hill Fiber batt.

I first clicked with a Midi size spindle made from Monkeywood. (I admit, I half picked it on name alone.) I purchased a batt from Rag Hill Farm(we’ve vended with them a few times, they’re lovely people!) and started spinning then and there. I’ve been using this batt to practice plying on the fly, and it’s been a lot of fun turn fiber into 3-ply yarn at once, instead of spinning it all into singles, winding it all off, then plying it in a separate step. (Google it, there are lots of videos out there.) Then I came home with a second spindle the next day (a Mini in Heart Pine reclaimed from the roof of an 18th century cabin) because how am I expected to hang around the pretty spindles and chat with the friendly and kind Bosworth couple without buying another?

All in all, it was an excellent show, preceded by a flurry of activity to prepare for it (and to meet some work deadlines) so I’m looking forward to spending my birthday (today!) going out to dinner and relaxing with my Fiasco. My parents are visiting this coming weekend, which should be fun, and I’m planning to spin with my new pretties every second that my hands are baby-free thanks to grandparent occupation.

(Have no fear, all the leftover product from the show will be updated to the shop over the next few days. Just not tonight!)

All The Pretty Fiber

The RI Fiber Festival and Craft Fair was this past weekend and it was a lovely time! The weather held out (chilly but no rain) and there were more vendors present than in previous years. Even though we didn’t have time to prep as much as we would’ve liked, Sweet Sheep had a pretty great show, thanks to everyone who stopped by!

There were sheep being shorn and fuzzy bunnies to admire (but not touch, sadly).

I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to squish my face into those baby bunnies… *ahem* Anyhow, I made it out of the festival with only two purchases, which showed some serious restraint on my part.

New to the show this year (I believe, unless I missed her last year) was Amanda from Classy Squid Fiber Co. I had just recently purchased a batt from her Etsy shop but still couldn’t resist the brightly-dyed braid of Polwarth in the Snow Cabbages colorway #noregrets. And I knew as soon as I touched the pretty pale blue gradient of Superwash Merino/Cashmere/Nylon in Chrystee’s booth (Play At Life Fiber Arts) that it was coming home with me. Concrete Sky is going to be the next thing on my wheel, for sure. SO SOFT OMG.

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O-Wool skeins for Hatchling’s Sky Blanket.

This wasn’t a festival purchase, but I recently wrote about Knit The Sky and the sky-themed blanket I’ve been inspired to make over Hatchling’s first year of life. I debated yarn choices for a while until I remembered that O-Wool sells gorgeous superwash fingering weight yarn at a great price, and I already had two grey skeins stashed that would be perfect for cloudy days. Snagging a skein of the white, yellow, pale blue, and dark blue to round out the sky possibilities was a no-brainer. I appreciate all the suggestions on my previous post of how to go about knitting this blanket. I’m feeling anti-mitered squares at the moment since I’ve had a mitered square blanket on the needles for years and I feel weird about starting more than one of those monsters at a time. Audry had a helpful suggestion of coloring in squares on graph paper to remember what days each individual square represented so I could join them appropriately, which was a concern of mine. I think I’ll do a little swatching and measuring soon so I can get a sense of whether I want to go with joined squares or stripey garter stitch.

All told, my stash is very happy about its fluffy new members and I’m feeling inspired to get on with new projects!

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.

WIPWed #121: Slow and Steady

Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement regarding pregnancy on my last post. It’s so great to hear others’ thoughts and have some of my own experiences confirmed. While some days are really hard, the whole thing is still inspiring and fascinating. It’s definitely a mixed bag. Today I had an ultrasound so I got a peek at the little dude’s profile and perfectly-formed toes. He’s already in the head-down position so I’m hoping he stays that way for the next 8 weeks!

As for other works-in-progress, the main one I’m currently knitting is my Beholden shawl. I’m still in the plain stockinette phase, but it’s growing, and the yarn is so incredibly luxurious that I don’t mind all the repetitive knits and purls.

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Kettle Yarn Co. Westminster in Florence. Click for project page.

I finished my Rotted Days shawl last week but have yet to take official, modeled ‘FO’ photos. However, you can get a peek of it blocking on my Instagram feed as I’ve posted it for today’s #craftyblisschallenge prompt.

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Louet merino/silk fiber. Click for handspun page.

I had hoped to finish this spin (and another one!) by the end of April, but I am forced to admit that is not going to happen. Somehow, we’re only 3 days away from the end of the month already, and I’m out of town this weekend! I really don’t understand the flow of time anymore. I need to set myself some sort of sit-down-at-the-wheel schedule but I have just not figured out what works best for me. When do you find time to spin? Morning? Evening? All day long? Weekends only?

As for reading, I’m currently working through ‘Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth‘ and it’s a refreshing change from all the doom and gloom and dire consequences in most baby books. Ina May is apparently the mother-of-all-midwives in the U.S. and the book is about her experiences birthing hundreds of babies naturally, without medical intervention, on what essentially sounds like a hippie commune in Tennessee. Because of the 70’s-ness of it all, I wasn’t sure I would get a lot out of the book, but the birth stories are really helpful to read and Ina May’s guidelines are actually backed by science and align well with what I was taught in my Bradley Method birth class. Worth a read, especially if you’re nearing labor and want to get ta sense of what it might be like without pain meds, Pitocin, or surgery.

Linking up with Yarnalong this week!