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!

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WIPWed #61: Time Warp

It turns out that when you spend your summer getting married and going on a honeymoon, your knitting progress seriously suffers. It appears that my active WIPs are exactly the same as they were in my last WIP Wednesday post a month ago!

(Not So) Secret Swatches:

This project is basically just a couple inches longer than it was in the last post, so nothing to see here.

Simply Royal:

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BMFA BFL Fingering Superwash, colorway Royal. Click for project page.

I began this sock just before my wedding, knit on it during our photo session, and took it with me to Costa Rica. This is a very special sock, indeed, although the knitting is very simple. I’m loving the way the colors are knitting up, the combination of striping and pooling is really interesting!

Tarnished Yak/Silk:

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BMFA Rockin’ Whorl Club Yak/Silk fiber, colorway Metalocalypse. Click for handspun project page.

My little Jenkins Aegean flew with me to Costa Rica, too, but only spent a little bit of time out and about. It was too humid to spin, really. The fine, soft fibers stuck to my fingers too much and it just wasn’t pleasant. But now I’m back, and ready to tackle this fiber as part of the Jenkins Ravelry group’s Fall Mini Spin-A-Long.

Speaking of spindles, a wonderful new addition joined my (quickly) growing collection:

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Enid Ashcroft Mini Turkish spindle.

It is every bit as gorgeous and teeny tiny as it seems! Its whorl diameter is only 3.25″ and it weighs 17 g, my smallest and lightest Turk yet. The arms are Tulipwood and the shaft is African Padauk. I don’t know if it’s the weight, the dimensions, the woods, or the maker (or some combination) but it’s also the most pleasant to use of my Turkish spindles. It has the longest and most stable spin of the three that I own and it feels the most comfortable to wind on. Basically, I adore it and I anticipate much happy spinning in our future.

And speaking of new acquisitions, this is what happens when there is a mystery grab bag mill end sale, a closing down of a favorite yarn company, and a discontinuing of a favorite yarn base all at the same time during a fairly stressful month:

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YARN-SPLOSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I swear, I’m usually much more restrained than this, but it was a trifecta of circumstance (plus so many sales!) and these acquisitions just could not be resisted. They should keep me going for quite a while, I’d say. Want more details?

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight

These were my Mystery Mill End grab bags from BMFA. I told them I liked blues and purples and they totally delivered! I’m not completely in love with the skein all the way to the left (royal blues mixed with oranges that got a little muddy) but STR is superwash and always good for baby knits or toys, and I see this skein as a great baby boy color (which is rare in my stash). The rest of the skeins, I love: a pale icy blue, a moody mix of purples, teals, and maroons, and finally a skein that looks a lot like Lavender Fields in the Mist, which I’ve admired for a while. Very happy with my mysteries!

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Final Cephalopod Yarns purchase.

These three skeins of CY Traveller were the only things I could snag off the website during the feeding-frenzy days of the final CY updates (2x Red Palace and Wolcott). I’m not usually drawn to reds, but I’m surprised by how much I like the Red Palace colorway and the Fiasco basically exclaimed “OMG THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!!” with completely non-ironic enthusiasm when he saw it, so it stays. I actually have 2 more skeins of Skinny Bugga headed my way that my dear friend Jeremie picked up from his local yarn store. Before this point I wasn’t really buying yarn very actively so I am grateful he was able to get me a couple of colorways I’ve loved for a long time but hadn’t yet stashed. Yay for yarn-conscious friends!

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CY Bugga in Flamboyant Cuttlefish

This skein also falls under the ‘loved for a long time but hadn’t yet stashed’ category. CY is pretty famous for its amazing rainbows and I just had to grab this from a destash while I still could.

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Verdant Gryphon Mondegreen in Paradise Valley, Black Hole Evaporation, and Athena

One of my other favorite yarnies, Verdant Gryphon, is discontinuing one of my favorite yarn bases, Mondegreen, and selling it for 40% off with the coupon code ‘mondegreen40’ at checkout (I believe the sale is still going). So (I ask you again), how could I resist? Although I haven’t stashed very much Mondegreen (see: not actively buying lots of yarn recently) I still really love it and am sad to see it go. The blend of BFL wool, silk, and camel down is unique and a delight to work with.

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VG Codex, colorway Carousel Horse

I believe at this stage of the game I reached a point of “what the hell, why not” and just grabbed this skein because it was pretty and different from anything else in my stash. Don’t judge me, ok? These things happen.

I hope that was enough yarn candy to perk up your Wednesdays! Check out more WIPs with Tamis Amis.

WIPWed #48: Pshhhh, What Commitment Issues?

I am having serious commitment issues — though not about knitting. I’m planning a honeymoon to Costa Rica and I am having the absolute hardest time choosing where to go, where to stay, what to see. I’ve read no less than 790 pages of travel guides in the last 3 weeks and have spent countless hours browsing hotel websites and I think I know where I want to go, but two things are stopping me: 1) thinking about all the lovely things that I’m NOT going to get to see in different parts of the country since I can’t be everywhere in one week and, 2) the cost. Oooooooh, the cost. Pulling the trigger and committing to spending that much money on one trip all at once — oooh boy, is that hard. (Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful to have this “problem”, but this will be the first big trip I’ve ever planned/taken so it’s kind of scary! I want to get it right! Costa Rica-related travel tips appreciated, if you have them!) Anyway, when it comes to my knitting, I’ve actually been extraordinarily committed. Remember my recent failures? Well, I resolved one of them.

Festooned Joy:

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BMFA Socks that Rock Lightweight, colorway Comfort & Joy. Click for project page.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that my two previously not-matching socks, now match. I frogged back the heel and shifted it over three stitches in order to get the purl columns to occur at the edges of the instep next to the gusset, like they did on the first sock. It wasn’t a big fix, just time-consuming and a little bit face-palmy, but thanks to three hours of Monday meetings the fix hardly set me back time-wise at all. Onwards!

Kelp-y Kelpie:

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Brooklyn Tweed Loft, colorway Sweatshirt. Click for project page.

My Kelpie shawl is progressing nicely, as well. The Loft yarn is probably not for everybody, it’s not “scratchy” but since it’s woolen-spun, it has an unusual “spongy” texture while knitting and the finished fabric is very matte. It feels a bit like pebbly velvet… sort of. Hard to describe, but very interesting!

Stitch Block Blues:

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Quince & Co. Osprey in Glacier, Peacock, and Belize. Click for project page.

To reward myself for so much committed knitting, I started a new project: Purl Soho’s Stitch Block Cowl. What you see above is my swatch, to test out how my lovely new yarn from Maine would look in the pattern, and the very beginnings of the cowl. This project is a great example of why you should always swatch, even for a simple garment. [Cue mini swatch lesson!]

The pattern is written to produce a cowl that is 12.75″ wide with a 51 stitch cast on and a gauge of 4 sts/inch using worsted weight yarn on size US 7 needles. I know that I personally like knitting worsted weight yarn on size US 8 needles, especially a thicker, nearly-aran weight yarn like Osprey (which I am now madly in love with,by the way. Delightful stuff!). So I swatched, measured, washed, let dry, and measured again. My gauge was 3.24 sts/inch before blocking (5.25″ wide swatch divided by 17 sts that I cast on for the swatch) but it stretched a bit width-wise after blocking (to 5.5″) giving me a blocked gauge of 3.01 sts/inch. Now, if I had cast on the ‘required’ 51 sts at my gauge, my cowl would have turned out to be nearly 17″ wide! Since this is a simple pattern that just requires an odd number of stitches, it is easily customizable. Therefore, I cast on only 35 stitches so my final cowl should be about 11.6″ wide (35 sts / 3.01 sts per inch = 11.6 — plenty wide enough for me). In summation: always swatch, if you care about the look/feel/proportions/size of your final project!

StB #1: Alpaca for Mom:

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Long Island Livestock Alpaca Firestar. Click for handspun project page.

And finally, here’s some solid progress on my first Spin the Bin challenge for 2014. Those bobbins hold 6 oz of lovely alpaca fiber, waiting for plying (my favorite part). My goal is to do finish by Friday so I can gift the skein to my mom when I go visit this weekend. (We are going wedding dress shopping. I’ve been dreading this experience for a long time solely because I hate dresses and I hate shopping, so if I never blog again, you will know I did not survive. [Cut dramatics.])

Well, I’d say that’s more than enough out of me this week! Hope you’ve been making good progress on all of your projects this week, as well. Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis!

The Opposite of an FO

It’s been nothing but new beginnings and failed finishings around here, so I have no FOs to show today. My socks with the linen stitch toe were a bust, turns out I forgot to factor in how much linen stitch compresses the fabric vertically (all those slipped stitches). Instead of a normal sock toe, I had a mutant little splash of linen stitch along the very tips of my toes. It was… not flattering. My toes looked like hunch-backed monsters. So rip, rip, rip! I’m undecided about trying the linen stitch again (decreasing at a slower rate) or just knitting it plain. But no matter, I have a shiny new project to distract me from toe-related decision-making.

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Lemme hear you say, “OoOOoOoOooOooo!”

Remember the Kelpie shawl I raved about in this Inspiration Saturday post? I debated the merits of no fewer than 6 different color combinations of the lovely and intriguing Brooklyn Tweed Loft yarn… and I just couldn’t decide. I thought I had resigned myself to yet another color combination (Snowbound for main color with Tent and Thistle for contrasts) but something held me back from placing the order.

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Black Trillium Fibres Pebble Sock Gradient, colorway Pease. Click for shop page.

I had received this beautiful gradient set for Christmas and was itching to find the right project for it. When I saw SmokingHotNeedles’ project page on Ravelry, I knew just what to do. She paired her gradient set with a solid skein of the same yarn, but I still wanted to give loft a try, so I ordered a few skeins of the Sweatshirt colorway and anxiously awaited their arrival until I could cast on.

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Itty bitty shawl!

Oh teeny, tiny shawl beginning, I am smitten already. The Loft yarn has a really fascinating texture. Most commercial yarns are worsted-spun, meaning they are smooth and dense and strong. (Remember my guest spinner post, all about worsted vs. woolen differences?) Loft is woolen-spun, so it incorporates a lot of air, is a bit more delicate and elastic, and has a really neat sponginess to it. The novelty is fun and I bet it will make a really warm fabric. I don’t normally knit with metal needles, but with such a sticky/grabby yarn, would recommend it. I can’t wait to see what the finished fabric looks like!

Sometimes, new beginnings can be just as fun as finishing. This explains my WIP pile, I suppose!

 

WIPWed #46: Flying By

Man, the weeks feel like they are zooming by. My knits, on the other hand, are not. Except for the hat that I miraculously finished in 5 days, I have very little WIP progress to show this week. That’s partly because I spent most of my time on that hat but it is also because I have a few knitting-related things happening that I can’t share here, so progress on the shareable stuff has been slow. Here it is anyway!

Festooned Joy:

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BMFA Socks that Rock LW, colorway Comfort & Joy. Click for project page.

Despite other commitments, I’m still knitting a round or two on my socks every day. I’m really digging the linen stitch toe going on here. It does such fun things with the highly variegated yarn, doesn’t it?

Raven Loch:

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

Since my mom’s hat was such a quick success, I figured I’d start one for myself as well. (This is another Loch hat by TinCanKnits.) The yarn is a skein I gave to my mom so she could crochet me a black scarf that would match most of my work clothes. There was a ton of yarn left over (I did not realize the pattern made such a short scarf) so now I will have a coordinating hat, as well!

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Pretty scarf, crocheted by my mom. Click for pattern page.

The pattern makes an itty bitty accent scarf, but it looks really cute on and is one of the few crochet stitches that I really like. That’s all I have for WIPs today but I do have some new stash enhancement to share! (And by share I  mean visually, because these pretties are mine, mine, mine.)

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Jill Draper Makes Stuff Mohonk. Click for shop page.

My dear friend Katy sent me this skein as a birthday present. As you might know, the Yarn Harlot raved about this stuff when she used it for her nephew’s sweater and Cormo is one of my favorite breeds of sheep to spin, so I’m extra excited to knit with this yarn. Anybody have a good neckwear (scarf, cowl, shawlette) or hat pattern suggestion for about 370 yards of bouncy, rustic, sport-weight wool? What would you make with this skein?

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The Verdant Gryphon Bugga, colorways Cobalt Blue Tarantula and Oil Beetle. Click for TLE shop page.

And then there was a birthday present… from myself. * Ahem * 🙂 I cannot be blamed. After almost two years, The Loopy Ewe (which has an excellent customer rewards program and great, color-accurate photos of their yarns) finally began to stock Bugga again, in older and hard-to-get VG colors, on my actual birthday. If that’s not a recipe for an impulse buy, I don’t know what is. As we all know, I love Bugga and the Verdant Gryphon but I do not love their website so much, I find shopping during Bugga updates at The Loopy Ewe to be more pleasurable. So color me happy and color my stash blue-green happily enhanced.

That all from me this week! Don’t forget, you still have a few days left to receive 29% off any of my Ravelry patterns (through the end of the 31st). And be sure to check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis.

WIPWed #45: Steady On

Before I get to my WIPs this week, I want to remind you to check out this post from yesterday (in case you missed it!) about two fun things: 1) my spinning-related guest post on the Crafts from the Cwtch blog and 2) a pattern sale. (Exciting times, yes?) As for WIPs, mine look pretty much the same this week as last time, but I’ll show them off anyway.

Scummy Cedar Grove:

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts De-Vine, colorway Pond Scum. Click for project page.

My lovely, chunky shawl is definitely growing, but not nearly fast enough to be finished by my birthday on Friday. I’m only about halfway done. That’s ok, though, I now have something else I’d like to finish by this weekend (of course).

Lord of the Loch:

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The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga, colorway Lord of the Flies.

My new project goal to have finished by this weekend is a Loch hat designed by Tin Can Knits and knit in that pretty Bugga skein above. My mom had her second round of chemo yesterday and a nurse told her she’ll probably begin losing her hair any day now. I’m going down to visit my parents this weekend and I’d love if I could finish this hat by then so I can give it to her straight away. I’m deluding myself a little with the logic that hats are fast and lace is fast so a lace hat should be pretty fast, right? However, it is a sport weight hat, so it may not be as zippy as I’m accustomed too. And I haven’t even wound the yarn yet… But despite all that, I’m still going to try!

Festooned Joy:

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BMFA Socks that Rock LW, colorway Comfort & Joy. Click for project page.

I’m being a good sock KAL-er and knitting at least a round or two on this sock every day. This means I’m now ready to start the toe! I love how just that little bit a day can make it feel like socks grow overnight.

That’s all I have this week, folks. Visit Tamis Amis for more WIPs!

Betwixt

I’m a tad late for WIP Wednesday and a little early for FO Friday, so I’m going to hit you with both at once! (OooOOoOooo!) This week is barreling by and flattening me in the process. Since my energy level is essentially zero, I’m going to keep this short, sweet, and full of pretty knits. Onwards!

Novelty:

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Feza Yarns Alp Light. Click for project page. (Terrible mirror selfie? Check!)

I finished my mom’s scarf-that-wouldn’t-end, huzzah! I have to say, the funky-factor was pretty cool after the knitting was finished. It’s not even a little bit my style but my mom will totally rock it. I admit my fingers are grateful to put down the novelty yarns and get back to good ol’ wool, though.

Fiasco’s Mitts:

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Feederbrook Farm alpaca/Shetland yarn. Click for project page.

The long-suffering fiance suffers no more! I stayed up working into the wee hours of the morning in a fit of relationship devotion to finish these mitts for him. I am happy I did because 1) they’ were my last holiday gift to finish and 2) nobody appreciates handknit items like my dear Fiasco. He truly loves them, which makes my knitterly heart so happy.

And now for a few WIPs…

Scummy Cedar Grove:

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts De-Vine, colorway Pond Scum. Click for project page.

My completely-selfish, couldn’t-wait-another-minute birthday shawl is well underway. Yes, birthday shawl. I’m hoping to have it finished by the 24th of this month. Do you think I can make it? It’s knit with rather bulky yarn on size 11 needles, so I think there’s a decent shot.

Festooned Joy:

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts STR, colorway Comfort and Joy. Click for project page.

And kicking off the Socks with Sarah KAL as well as the Socks That Rawk! Clean Slate KAL is this lovely old WIP begun in 2012. This poor holiday sock has wistfully watched two Christmases pass by without being finished. Since there’s so much pink and red in the yarn, I feel like it can pass for a Valentine’s Day sock easily enough, so V-day is my goal. I’d say it’s doable!

Clearly, I’m feeling optimistic tonight. Do you set yourself goals for completion or do you just knit whatever, whenever? Check out Tamis Amis for some more WIPs and FOs!

WIPWed #43: Still Working On Gifts

Not to be a whiner or anything, but the urge for selfish knitting is getting pretty strong and I’m still working on holiday-leftover-knits-for-other-people. I don’t handle project monogamy well but I’m trying my darnedest to finish things up ASAP because the recipients are wonderful and knitworthy… I just might get a little twitchy in the process.

Awareness:

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Malabrigo Twist, colorway Damask Rose. Also, meet Glenda, my new hat model! Click for project page.

First up is actually a FO, my mom’s second of three planned chemo caps. (You can find the first in this post.) This simple pattern of reverse stockinette ridges takes on a very feminine look when you wrap the yarn around a few times and gather the ridges up into a turban-esque shape. I think it would be flattering for many different faces. The pattern is the Purl Knit Turban by Sarah Dudek and it is super yummy knit in the Malabrigo Twist.

Novelty:

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Feza Yarns Alp Light. Click for project page.

This yarn is the weirdest stuff I’ve ever worked with. It’s composed of different novelty yarns cut up and knotted together so it forms thick blocks of different colors and textures as you knit. My mom absolutely fell in love with the store sample and this is for her but damn am I looking forward to the end of that freaky ball of yarn. (And not looking forward to trying to block the thing.)

Fiasco’s Mitts:

Feederbrook Farm Alpaca/Shetland. Click for project page.

Poor, poor Fiasco. He always gets knit-shafted. Here is part of his belated xmas present: a pair of mitts made with some delightfully sheep-y wool I picked up at Rhinebeck 2012. Luckily, these mitts knit up fairly quickly so once the Endless Brown Scarf is over he should have these mitts in hand (teehee) lickity-split.

Loop! Bumps 2-ply:

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Loop! bullseye bumps in Elf and Kermit Coordinate. Click for handspun project page.

Have you ever spun a Loop! bullseye bump? Spinners on Ravelry raved and raved about them and I just had to try them. They are composed of fiber that has been blended really well, layered in color progressions, and wound so the fiber comes out of the center of the bump in on long, continuous strand. Unlike regular drum-carded batts that are great for woolen spinning, bullseye bumps are made for worsted spinning because they are so smoothly prepared and the fibers are well-aligned. I purchased the Elf bump (on the left) myself, which has a wonderful long color progression from deep teal through olive greens and spring greens to a bright aqua that ends in grey. Then I received the Kermit Coordinate bump as a gift, which transitions through similar color families in much shorter repeats. It’ll be really cool to see what happens when I spin each bump separately and ply the two together. The effect should be something along the same lines as fractal spinning.

One of my goals for the year that I didn’t mention before is to spin a little bit every day. I really enjoyed spinning like crazy for Spinzilla and if I can squeeze in just a minute here or there, I know my handspun output will increase dramatically. Plus, it feels good to ‘zen’ out a little every day. I’m going to post photos of my spinning on my Instagram with the hashtag #dailyspin, if you’d like to join in or follow along.

What are you working on this week? Am I the only one still scrambling to finish up late gifts? Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis and some spinning show & tell at Crafts from the Cwtch.