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!)

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Riding the Waves

Oh friends, I can tell these final weeks of pregnancy are going to be a rollercoaster ride. Lately it’s been a mix of time moving super quickly, and ridiculously slowly. Of busybusy things to do and waiting, waiting, waiting. Of running around with errands and appointments and falling asleep almost immediately after work. Of feeling prepared and ready for it all and suddenly feeling anxious about labor and delivery. Of buying the remaining bits and bobs of things we need for baby and pinching pennies to cover my reduced salary over maternity leave. Of wondering about every new ache and pain to just trying to be patient and let my body do what it will. So many contrasts!

This is such a crazy time, the adventure is certainly beginning.

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Tiny bits of progress.

I have not been knitting too much lately. The cardi I finished last week is blocking and awaiting buttons, and I’ve just made a wee bit of progress on the coordinating gradient hat and socks set for Hatchling.

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Coconut Lime whipped goat milk soap

In other news, I made some delectable Coconut Lime whipped goat milk soap for a Sweet Sheep vending event and there are still a few bars left. I’ll be closing shop for the month of July so if there’s something you’ve been keeping an eye on, you should grab it now! Have no fear, though, I’ll be back in action by August. Be sure to sign up for the mailing list or follow the Sweet Sheep Facebook page to stay up-to-date with comings, goings, sales, and updates.

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.

Five Things Friday

It’s Friday! And I’m celebrating with a list of random things I’d like to blab about.

1- Despite my best efforts at focusing on one WIP, knitting time was minimal this week and my Rotted Days shawl is still not done. However, I am loving the final purple wedge and am still excited to wrap this one up soon.

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So very purple!

2- I’m digging this new cookbook by Andi Mitchell, Eating in the Middle. She wrote an excellent book called It Was Me All Along about her struggles with weight loss and disordered eating that really resonated with me. This cookbook focuses on ‘mostly wholesome’ meals for when you are not actively dieting or indulging, just eating at a healthy maintenance level. The buttermilk dipping sauce and chicken fingers were delicious, as were the morning glory muffins, and the chia seed breakfast pudding I just devoured.  I highly recommend both her books, and her blog if you’re interested in healthful eating or weight loss mindset.

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Om nom nom.

3- I gave myself my 200th lovenox (blood thinner) injection of this pregnancy. Only about 140ish more to go before Hatchling arrives! I will spare you the photos of my black-and-blue belly but some of the bruises are really spectacular, color-wise. Thankfully, they don’t usually hurt, they’re just a bit of a nuisance.

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Emptied box #1!

4- I came across this On the Spice Market shawl using Miss Babs gradient sets and I’m totally in love. I don’t have time for a new shawl right now, and even if I did, so many of Melanie Berg’s shawls have a similar trendy/stripey vibe that I’d have a hard time actually choosing which one to knit, but this one would be near the top of my list, perhaps even in those colors. So pretty!

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Photo copyright Melanie Berg.

5- I’ve updated Sweet Sheep with some out of stock lip balms, including Spearmint and Toasted Coconut. I know Toasted Coconut has been unavailable for a while as I’ve had several requests from customers who are very big fans of it to restock! So it’s there now, just in time to take your lips on a tropical vacation this spring.

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Toasted Coconut lip balm… more om nom nom.

What random things are floating around on your mind this Friday? Have a lovely weekend!

GRYC Good Times

Despite not getting to do much shopping because I was working like a madwoman to make some last-minute lotion bars, the Great Rhody Yarn Crawl was a really good time.

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Sweet Sheep vending at Mount Hope Farm

I really, truly, puffy-heart love the fiber community in and around this little state of ours. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: everyone is so welcoming and friendly and caring, it’s so lovely to see familiar faces at these kinds of events. And people make such beautiful things!

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Ceramic sheep bowl from Rising Sun Earthworks

This adorable sheep bowl will now be part of my show display, I simple couldn’t resist taking her home from Rising Sun Earthworks.

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Hand-embroidered sheep pouch from Dancing Threads RI

I also couldn’t resist this sweet little sheep pouch from Dancing Threads RI. Apparently, all of my must-haves were sheep-themed, and none of them were yarn. And no, I don’t know how I resisted because there were plenty of pretty skeins there. There were also baby goats.

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Baby goats!

I wish I had captured some better photos, they were the sweetest things. Now didn’t that make Monday just a bit brighter?

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My knitting focus this week

I am going to take a short break from my regular “WIP Wednesday” posts as I’ve felt a bit hemmed-in by them, and have found myself really only posting once a week due to the timing. I think I’d prefer to post once earlier and once later in the week, so the WIPWed post is getting cut for a while. We’ll see how it goes. I do, however, still want to chat about my knitting. This week’s focus is my Rotted Days shawl. I finished the previous wedge with just that tiny ball of my handspun left, so I’m now working the very exciting FINAL WEDGE in solid purple. It’s hard to tell, but I think this shawl will end up a decent size, and I’m glad I didn’t get caught short with my handspun, especially since I was totally winging the yardage. This has been on the needles since last May, but with a little luck and a few cram sessions I think I can finish it this week!

Hope your weekends were full of happiness, sheep-y things, and baby goats (or something else wonderful along those lines).

Yarn Crawl This Weekend!

I am so susceptible to yarn-y suggestions. Just knowing that it’s the Great Rhody Yarn Crawl this weekend is making me want to visit every store in Rhode Island and buy yarn. Do I need yarn? Absolutely not. Do I have money for yarn? Haha no. Do I have time to shop? HAHAHAHAHAHA no. And yet, the desire is still there.Oh, yarn, you tempting thing.

If you are lucky enough to participate, make sure you print out this passport and get it stamped at every store you visit for chances to win prizes at the culmination ceremony happening on Sunday, April 10th (11 am – 4 pm) at Mount Hope Farm in Bristol. And be sure to stop by and say hello, as Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe will be vending there!

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Sweet Sheep goat milk soaps

In addition to the culmination ceremony, there should be some Sweet Sheep goodies stocked at  The Mermaid’s Purl in Wickford, RI for this yarn crawl. Also, a big batch of sheep-shaped soaps is currently winging its way out to California just in tame for a different yarn crawl in a few weeks involving the Creative Ewe, another one of Sweet Sheep’s retailers. These sheep are getting around!

I hope you all have a yarn-filled weekend! I’m sure I’ll report back next week with things I couldn’t stop myself from buying…