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One more day, one more month

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am looking forward to seeing the back end of 2016.

To that end I have a countdown of crafty things to finish before the end of the year. I thought it would be fun to look back and see what’s still on the needles, wheels,and spindles. To see just what is coming up before the holidays are over, and what I am hoping to finish, frog, or keep working on for the New Year rolls in.

So first things first: Still on the Needles

-Sock yarn blanket- this is coming up on year two of knitty goodness, I have no real belief this will be finished any time soon, in part due to my lack of new yarns (I know I know I should joing a swap, but I have no good excuse here.)

-Botanical Baddie Shawl-

This was cast on back at the start of the crazy pack and move halfway across the country. I have made it to the black lace border, but stalled for some reason on the pattern’s lace (knitter error most likely.) I’ve frogged the lace border back and now have a mesh lace border I am slowly making my through (read not seeing much action over all.)

-Monster for our Lady Marja-

No photo of this one, because the little guy is buried at the moment. As far as I can remember he needed legs and arms and then he would be ready to send her way. As she was able to help me out during a rough patch I really do want to get this done before the end of the year and sent out. Time to go digging I guess.

-Big Blue Socks for Giant-

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There is a bit more progress than this photo shows, but I think I am only at the beginning of the heel for the first sock. I think these simply got shoved aside for something else and then I forgot about them. Oops. Time to pick them back up.

-Crazy Zocks for Ze Giant-

No photo for this one, I am using a plain black for cuff, heels, and toes. The main color is my first Crazy Zauberball yarn. Just as the pair above these are still on the leg, but they are the more recent cast on when it comes to socks.

-Sweater for W-

Alas no photo for this either. I am making a modified baby sophisticate for the littlest man in the family. I have made it past the shoulders and am on the body, but still have a good 5 inches before thinking of the sleeves and collar.

-Blanket for Chicken Wing-

This is a somewhat secret project, so photos might be scarce (let’s pretend that’s the reason for the others lacking photos as well, ok?) I am using a modified version of the Mason Dixion Log Cabin blanket. My color scheme is rainbow in soft jewel tones with a stain-glassed look. More on that later.

 

On to Fiber in the Mix

-Moonrover-

I have one wheel occupied with the absolutely gorgeous braid of Moonrover fiber I snagged in a destash earlier this fall. Progress has been slow. I am hoping to get the singles finished before Christmas, and plying that week…but we’ll see.

-BusyBee Fiber-

This involves two spindles at the moment. I had purchased a Russian spindle to try supported spindling again…I need to practice more. I am also working on this fiber with my new akerworks spindle, this is going much faster and smoother as long as I can keep the cats from thinking it is a cat toy.

-Our Lady Marja’s Batts-

This is on my tiny akerworks spindle I purchased. Due it’s size, the generosity of Ms. Marja, and wanting to savor each time I work on it, this is a slow project. I’m okay with that.

 

Almost Finished

-This is a sweater for J. I have finished the thing (finally) and woven in all five million ends, it just needs a bath and to be blocked before photos can happen. Which should be any day now…

Upcoming Projects

-I have a pair of socks for the Giant’s mom for the holidays coming up. He picked out the yarn and it is going to be on it’s way to me soon (along with some other goodies for me as well.)

-Fingerless mitts for the giant—He’s a giant, but gets chilly easily. After my failed attempt with bulky handspun I am going to opt for something easier to work with. Just have to find the right yarn in stash.

 

So there you have it. The list I hope to complete with the last month of a year I won’t be sorry to see end.

How about you? Any crafting on the horizion for you?

 

Fresh from the Furnace: Glassblowing

I wrote last week about our recent adventure into the exciting new world of glassblowing. This past Saturday, the Indoor Cat and I took a trip down to retrieve the finished pieces. Aside from the onslaught of rain the entire day, the journey was easy. Indoor Cat was smart and snapped some photos of all the finish pieces before they were packaged up. (Photo credits belong to her.)

As part of the class the four of us got decide if we wanted to make two smaller items or one larger item. Indoor Cat opted for the larger item, the bowl I discussed last time. As part of the process we got to choose colors for our pieces, and she decided to go with an autumnal pallette.

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Indoor Cat’s sister ended up making a paperweight and an ornament. The paperweight option included choosing a rounded top or a cube shape. She opted for the rounded top.

The ornament (on the left) actually looked brown before the glass melted (which may have caused a slight moment of doubt on her part.) Luckily the Freddy Kreuger inspired piece turned out the way she wanted. This was made from the actually blowing the glass, thereby creating a giant bubble

The paperweight has a smoky looking interior along with the bubbles. Fun fact the paperweights actually require a larger amount of energy than the other pieces.

The Giant’s chose two smaller items as well, a paperweight (cubed shape) and a suck bowl. (Aptly named because instead of blowing out you suck the air in.)

His bowl grew a bit too thing at the base and thus there is a small hole in the bottom. However he still very much enjoys it.

The paperweight was a bit uneven in terms of shape, but thanks to the handy work of one of the glassblowing experts the piece was able to be chipped (to remove the uneven bottom) and then “sanded” which involves a giant diamond grit wheel. Fun fact, the grinding on the glass is so fine that it will tilt slightly on even the most miniscule of uneven surfaces.

To round out the projects, my pieces involved an ornament and a suck bowl. They are essentially the inverse of each other and I couldn’t help but decide on them. Unfortunately at the time of our glass there wasn’t any purple and so I opted for a yellow and green for my ornament. When beginning I asked if it would be possible to do a swirl pattern, I was told the technique was pretty difficult to do, but that the awesome team would try to make it work. I think if I would have had more contrasting colors it would have been easier to see.

My bowl is actually made the same way as the Giant’s above (different colors) but thanks to my serious lack of lung capacity it ended up being signifcantly smaller and thicker. However mine doesn’t have a hole in the bottom.

The over all experience with the team was great. The finished objects make it that much sweeter.

 

FFNF:All Wound Up

Today in what’s fresh from the needles I would like to share the socks I finished for the Giant.

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Knit out of my first Socks that Rock skein they are an exclusive colorway for one of the local-ish yarn shops. Dyed by Blue Moon Fiber Arts to celebrate the shop’s one year anniversary, they caught the Giant’s eye on our first visit. Being a process knitter far more than a product knitter I was intrigued to try the yarn. Oh man is it every lovely. I can definitely see why people are fans.

Because the Giant is…a giant, I ended up using some basic black yarn for heels and toes to help stretch the yarn. Of course by the end of the second sock I realized I didn’t actually need to worry, there’s more than enough left, which means I finally have a new color to add to the sock blanket.

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Trying to take photos around the apartment can be tricky. Toby has developed an affinity for the camera. He is also in love with anything wooly smelling, which means when these get a proper bath there will be a purring ball of fluff to stand watch as they dry.

Funnily enough the color actually goes well with my hair, although I recently dyed it a darker purple, so it’s less that pink and more the deep blue purple you see above. The socks themselves are just the basic formula I use when making the Giant a pair, although I have gotten a bit better about toe caps I am still on the look out for a truly rounded version.

Luckily the Giant seems pleased.

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How’s your weekend looking?

1,250 Degrees Fahrenheit

Glass, when heated to that temperature will have the consistency of taffy and is in the prime state to be shaped into anything, from a paperweight to a large delicate bowl.

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As part of a very delayed birthday celebration the Giant, my bestie, her sister and myself all took a day trip to a small town in Washington State and participated in a glassblowing class. In a large open workshop along with four workers we got to try our hand at making a few different items. The entire process for our end was about two and half hours, although our pieces had to cool overnight (and thus wait for us to pick up this next week.)

This is the beginning process of a bowl I made. The colors on the table roughly correspond to the actual colors I will get in the end. This particular bowl involved not only blowing the glass out, but then I had to suck air in to create the hollow interior. (Fun fact my lungs are pretty weak when it comes to the process, but luckily the lighter touch is easier to work with for the most part. Woo?)

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This photo is the start of a large bowl. The process is similar to my little one above, but requires a lot more teamwork. Indoorcat’s sister is assisting with the blowing aspect as Indoorcat waits to make the next step. The shop teacher was explaining how the rolling of the the glass has to be done in a consistent way to prevent it from becoming lopsided. After the glass was blown out, the top needed to be shaped.

Before the teacher re-heated the glass and was able to make it fan out to create the bowl.

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The process overall was so interesting and I know I wasn’t alone in thinking it would be a fun thing to try again.

Hopefully I’ll remember to snap photos of the finish pieces.

 

So how did your weekend go?

 

Spontaneous

I am most definitely a planner. I like to have an idea of what is going to happen, how it is going to happen and when it is going to happen. As someone who deals with anxiety, it just helps to have that bit of control. However this often means that I can easily talk myself out of trying new things. This past weekend The Giant, who is as easy-going as a person can be, and I decided to try our hand at an adventure.

What started as a stop at a semi-local/somewhat big box type craft store morphed into a day trip that ended up with us a trying a new food joint (it was okay, nothing too exciting), visiting The Sound and getting to see a variety of different flora and fauna.

The day trip involved driving up to Everett, WA and one thing I can say for sure is that the PNW knows how to do Autumn. The drive was a gorgeous mix of colors and cool weather. There were a few moments of brief panic (on my end) when the Giant put me in charge of not only deciding lunch (I tend to be less adventurous when it comes to food) but also what we should see while out an about. I hadn’t had time to really plan anything (cue panic) and instead decided to be brave and just wing it.

During lunch I used my phone’s map to look at the surrounding area, The Giant noticed the large amount of blue (water) on the map and asked if we were near one of the numerous large lakes. When I clarified that it was in fact Puget Sound, he seemed excited. Which meant after lunch we headed to the first of two stops, Harborview Park.

The weather was perfect for a little peak around the area, which had some pretty astounding views. There were even seagull (a somewhat regular sight back in Chicago)

The park was basically green space that ended pretty abruptly with some train tracks before the beach/water. While the views were gorgeous I really wanted to find a beach where we could walk around more.

So another quick look at the map and we ended up going to Edgewater Beach. This was definitely more in line with what I had in mind.

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The land mass you see on the horizon is Hat Island. I have recently become a bit obsessed with the place, due in part to the fact that there are only about 41 full-time residents on the island. Although the number swells to about 600 during the summer season.

 

Edgewater beach is part of a restoration project in conjunction with the Port of Everett and has provided around 1,100 linear feet of beach that is accessible during all tide times.  It seemed to be a pretty good fishing spot for locals, we even saw a few clam diggers as well.

For this raised in the Midwest lady it was astounding to see how many shells were on the beach.

The purple ones were by far my favorite, but I was fascinated with the barnacle laden shells.

Unfortunately the closest we came to seeing a crab was the remanet of the outer shell (RIP Mr. Crab.) The water was clear and cold, and apparently I react like a cat when the waves come up on shore.

I even got to see a (dead) jelly fish. (Which as a side note, Jelly fish in general freak me out. This is for a number of reasons, but the big ones are: no brains, practically immortal, and composed mainly of water; so much in fact that they can evaporate if stuck on a beach.)

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It was so calming to be out there, a nice change from the hustle and sheer amount of people otherwise. I am very glad I was able to try out this spontaneous thing, although you won’t be able to convince me to do it all the time, it was definitely worth it.

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FFNF: Pinks and Purples

The sweater for the tiny human in my life is complete. It’s even been sent through the washer and dryer to test for durability.

Getting an accurate color photo is harder than expected out here. The one on the right shows the pink more accurately, the one on the left displays the purple better.

The pattern was a modified version of Tin Can Knits, Flax sweater. I omitted the garter stitch on the sleeves. I ended up knitting a combination of the XS and the size down from that. The tiny human in question is actually quite skinny, but pretty tall for her age. Fingers crossed it fits and she isn’t swimming in it.

The yarn was Berroco Vintage (worsted) in Aster and Blush.

I had two skeins of each, but didn’t use all of them.

The pattern was easy to follow and I definitely enjoyed how quickly the sweater knit up, I just have to hope it is what she wanted.

 

New and Different

Growing up I colored my hair almost every natural shade there was.I had always wanted to go purple or blue, but school regulations and job prospects meant that I was unable to. It’s been about six years since I last did any type of color.  This changed this weekend. On a slight whim and thanks to the encouragement of the Giant I finally made the plunge into purple hair.

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The pre-dye photo. My hair has darkened over the years and when we went about the dyeing I had to lighten it.

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It was weird seeing it so blonde again, the color was hard to capture, but suffice it to say it looked very early 2000’s.

The entire process was an interesting experiment in spousal trust. The Giant was willing to help with the entire thing, but was far more nervous than I. I kept reassuring him that worst case scenario I cut it off and regrow (over dyeing was the next step if it didn’t work out.)

Despite a few hiccups the process went really well. The results are a bit lighter than I was going for, but I absolutely love it.

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It only took 29 years to get it.

 

Hello, I am Ira McKnitty-Pants coming to you from the new(er) home of the Introverted Knitter. It’s October finally and the PNW is starting to show off in style. With the changing leaves and the cooler and rainy days beginning again, I sat down with IK to discuss just what all is happening in her little corner of the world.

Ira: “Hello, IK, thank you so much for sitting down and talking with me today. As you know readers of your blog are interested in knowing just what you have been up to as of late.”

IK: “Hello Ira, thank’s for having me. I know the blog’s been a little quiet lately, but rest assured crafting is happening.”

Ira: “Fabulous, now IK with the month of October finally here, have you decided to participate in any of the numerous crafting activities that are going on? I know Spinzilla kicked off yesterday, and Socktober is already swinging into high gear, have you signed up for either of those?

IK: “No Ira, unfortunately it just didn’t work out for me this year to officially do any of these things, however I did cast on a sock for The Giant on October 1st. Right now my crafting time is really spent working on numerous WIPs. I still have that shawl from the summer on the needles, and I have more than a few socks kicking around. I have been putting most of my focus on the pink and purple sweater for the holidays.”

Ira: “Oh, the sweater, that’s right. You are knitting this for a niece, is that correct? She even requested it, if I am remembering right.”

IK: “Yep, you are correct Ira, the sweater was a special request. I have managed to get through the first sleeve and just need to work on picking up for the other. It’s been a little bit of an annoying go, all that turning with DPNS and then straightening it out again. However, I am enjoying the way the sweater is going.”

Ira: “Fantastic. Now I am being told you actually brought a photo for us to share with the audience at home? Let’s put that up for them now.”

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IK: “As you can see in this photo, I hadn’t quite finished the sleeve at this point. Now that is done and I just need to pick up for the second sleeve. It should be easy going once I take the time to get back to it.”

Ira: “Brilliant. Now I know you are busy with all sorts of things, so we won’t take up any more of your time. I just wanted to thank you once again for sitting down to talk with us. I’m Ira McKnitty-Pants reporting to you from IK’s place in the PNW. On behalf of her and myself thanks for tuning in.”

FFN:Belated Celebrations

This past weekend was unofficially the weekend of belated celebrations for my birthday last week. Saturday saw The Giant, my best friend and myself heading out on a pretty interesting adventure to South Gig Harbor to attend the third annual Cider Swig festival. The event features roughly 80 different kinds of Cider (according to the website) and is kind of like a combination of a beer garden and wine tasting event. The cider’s are from local(ish) companies and featured a variety of different types and flavors. It was a fun, if slightly poorly coordinated event. Aside from a sunburn (despite sunblock), I had fun and the three of us got to try about 14 different ciders and one whiskey variation. Unfortunately I completely forgot to take any photos (bad blogger.)

The weekend celebration continued when the lovely and talented and amazing (did I mention lovely) Ms. Marja (yes that Marja) sent me a birthday gift. I was more than a little floored by her generosity before opening the package. Once opened, I may have developed a bit of Gollum level of attachment to the gifts. Guys, Marja not only sent me a lovely card, she sent me some of her highly coveted handspun (I know you are jealous, I would be too) but she sent me fiber rolags she had created. I will admit to making some excited noises when discovering all of it. I managed to snap this photo right after opening it.

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Which is good because the handspun now looks like this.

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I was just looking at it on Sunday and by last night I was binding off the hat. It’s slouchy and warm and lovely and I may have made the Giant model it to get a better idea of what it looks like on someone. It’s soft and colorful and all things wonderful about hand spun.

The pattern is a loose adoption of Tin Can Knits, Barley Hat. I took the general idea but didn’t switch needles (there wasn’t time.) Also I opted to do the panel in reverse stockinette (purled every row.) I ended up making it quite a bit longer than the pattern as well, but (and here’s the amazing part) I still have some of the yarn left over. I do not think it will be enough to make much of anything although I am eyeing it for potential pompom use for later.

The fiber has been tucked away for safe keeping from the cats, but I don’t anticipate it hanging in the stash for too long.

How’s your crafting going?

First day of Autumn

Happy first day of Autumn from the PNW.

It’s been quite a bit longer between posts than I expected. Unpacking is still happening…slowly. The majority of the boxes are out of here, we are still trying to find space for everything. One thing I forgot about when it comes to apartment living is the sheer lack of storage. I believe all of our boxes have at least been opened and viewed, which is great, however somewhere amongst the random remaining stuff is our television remote. I fully anticipate finding it in a box that has been labeled for a completely different area.

In other news, yesterday marked my birthday. I was rejected for a freelance job, but considering how most of my birthdays work out, this was a pretty good day.

Crafting wise things are slow. I still haven’t finished the shawl, it has about 1.5 repeats on the lace border before the ending lace chart. I can’t explain why I am taking so long on finishing it; the pattern is not difficult, I enjoy the way it looks and feels, and I think it will be pretty once it’s done.

The sock blanket has been getting love recently, but I haven’t bothered to take a photo lately. I’ve managed to make it as wide as I want, but now have to work my way up. Instead of the haphazard way of working on it, by which I add squares with no set method, I have had decided to try to work in rows. Of course doubling the width means I have about half the blanket that needs to be caught to the first side. So far it’s working out fairly well. I still have enough “scraps” that it shouldn’t be an issue, although I may have to look into a swap soon as the repeating is getting to be a bit much.

I’ve started the sweater of doom (aka pink and light purple) and am trucking along at a good pace. The body is almost done which is pretty fantastic, I am a little perturbed by the fact that I ended up needing to wind up the second skein(s) simply because I ran out of some during the ribbing along the bottom. Minor annoyance, but it meant that I didn’t get as far along as I wanted last night.

Spinning is kind of happening, the Russian spindle arrived the other week and I managed to grab some fiber and start with very little second guessing. You know, that feeling that you need to hoard the fiber until you are good enough, like a dragon and its gold. The spindle itself is good, if a little large (37cm/ 14 inches) and when I actually sit down to do the spinning I can get in a decent enough groove. The double treadle has some fiber started on it, but that too has stalled out.

Stalling out seems to be my M.O. lately. I guess my adjustment to out here is still a work in progress.

How have you been? Any new knitting projects for Autumn?

Unpacking for days…

This is Ira McKnitty Pants is coming to you live where the great unpack of 2016 is still underway here at the new home of the Introverted Knitter. It appears that there are a number of factors that seem to be slowing both IK and the Giant down when it comes to unpacking. The first, I am told, is the lack of space in their now tiny kitchen. This is quickly followed by, and possibly surpassing the kitchen situation, the rather poor job the packers did in terms of organization and labeling. This reporter is acutely aware of how much IK loves details and through disgruntled mumblings, some of which we are unable to report on this blog, it would appear that this lack of marking is what is drawing the most ire for her.

I have been told that both spinning wheels have been located, assembled and are as of now in working condition. However as an example of the lack of details, IK wants me to inform you all that one wheel (packed up in the original box) was labeled Christmas bells, despite the image on the front of the box. Additionally the little Prelude, that is affectionately referred to as Beatrice was split into multiple boxes, with the larger parts labeled “chair.” I am assured that IK and the Giant are as baffled by this labeling as this reporter happens to be.

I am told that the stash is still technically unreachable due to the amount of boxes in the “spare” room. However IK has indicated that the goal for this week is to find the swift and ball winder, “which may be anywhere at this point.”

I’ve just received confirmation that, yes, the cats seem to be handling the move and land of boxes far better than their human counterparts, and in fact seeem to particularly enjoy their gigantic tower, which the humans have thoughtfully placed nearest the windows in the living room. I am told that the cats are particularly fond of watching the variety of birds, squirrels, and various other creatures (and leaves) from their perch. It appears that this is by far the most coveted location, although unconfirmed reports seems to indicate that the bed is a close second, followed by the bathroom-whether occupied or not.

It is of this reporter’s opinion that the Giant has been incredibly helpful in this entire process and I am told that not only does IK agree, but that she is eager to cast on the pair of socks for him, just as soon as she can split the skein in half.

In terms of crafting content it appears there has been little to no progress on the shawl, or socks that are currently on the needles, but this reporter is being told that the sock blanket has been getting some attention, however our camera crew was unable to secure any photos. However this reporter can assure you that there has been some pretty decent growth to the blanket, and while IK assures me that there is still a significant portion needed to be knit, she feels confident and enthusiastic about her progress.

This reporter has also been informed that a new supported spindle is on its way to IK and that another bowl has been acquired as well. It is the hope of this reporter that photos will be forthcoming as they arrive. Additionally we’ve been told that spinning shall commence soon, but an actual date has not been given.

Thanks for tuning in to this special report of the PNW moving saga for the Introverted Knitter and Giant, I am Ira McKnitty-Pants reporting.  

 

It begins….

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Guess what finally arrived!?!

Cold Sheeping pause

Or more aptly title how I broke my yarn diet and became a bit of a wool pig.

The past weekend here in the PNW had a little bit of everything I think. The Giant and I started out by visiting two local (ish) yarn shops on the hunt for some yarn. Now some of you may be thinking, “But Introverted Knitter you have been cold sheeping since (May) the beginning of the year, why break the habit now?” Well my dear reader I would like to say that it is because of the request by one of the tiny humans in my life, (they did) I want to tell you all about how she asked me so very nicely for a sweater out of pink and purple yarn (she did.) It would be great to say that this was the catalyst for jumping off the cold sheep wagon, for it is a noble and far less selfish reason. Alas I am unable to truthfully say this was the reason for the plunge.

It all started thanks to instagram and a lovely dyer named Moonrover. (Remember her? From last week, the handspun socks? Yeah that dyer) I just happen to catch a post from Moonrover that stated she was looking to destash fibers. I am going to chalk it up to the fact that 1) her fibers are amazing, 2) I’m really anxious to get back to spinning, 3) fiber’s are absolutely awesome, 4) I’ve gone 4 months with no purchases (although I did get lovely unsolicited stash gifts, however they two are on a truck that is on it’s way to me), 5)Did I mention how wonderful her fiber is?

I ended up hopping over to Ravelry and taking a quick peek at the fiber and fell in love with the selection. I ended up snagging a braid. Lacey is amazingly quick with her shipping and Saturday morning my little mailbox was full of fiber fluffy goodness.

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I can’t decide which part I love the most, but it is a superwash 80/20 wool nylon blend so it may become another pair of socks. It may just become a pet that I love and cherish and name George. (Probably socks to be honest)

After that first purchase I ended up deciding it would make the most sense to go buy the yarn for the sweater (since I was already off the sheep) and I needed to pick up a new needle for the lace part of the shawl I am knitting (fun fact from me to you: if you purchase a cheap set of needles off of Amazon, realize there is a reason they are cheap. Aka the joins are not smooth, despite my attempts to fix them, and will snag your yarn.)

The Giant being a good sport was willing to head out on an adventure as we stopped at a close(r) to us yarn shop, Serial Knitters Yarn Shop. The shop is lovely and arranged fairly well, however despite their wonderful selection of some pretty big name yarns I ended up only picking up needles there. (The yarn for the sweater was not among their selections.) The staff was great and I definitely expect to frequent them in the future.

Our next stop on the search for the yarn led us a bit out of the way to a not-quite-as-local-yarn-shop known as All Wound Up. This store was deceptively large, (it sits in a rather small looking strip of stores) and it too had a large selection of big name yarn producers, including the sweater yarn. We ended up deciding on colors that theoretically will not make me want to stab my eyeballs out, which is always for the best. IMG_3949

This is the closest iteration of pink and purple that the Giant and I could settle on. Berroco Vintage Worsted. As we took in the rest of the store, I was drawn to the sock yarns and the Giant eventually made his way there as well. I pointed out the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock yarn (a first for me to see it in the wild) and suddenly the Giant indicated he especially liked a particular skein. After a bit of a waffle I ended up grabbing the skein with the plan to knit him socks. As we waited to make our purchases 1/2 of the lovely owners informed us that the colorway in question was actually specially dyed for the store in honor of their anniversary.

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in the “All Wound Up” colorway. (You may be noticing a pattern when it comes to the colors chosen lately…I am a sucker for blues and purples)  The shop is a lovely place and despite being further away I plan on going again.

The yarny adventures ended with a quick stop to JoAnn’s as I needed more black yarn to finish up the lacey portion of the shawl. I ended up grabbing two of the skeins just for insurance, as I figure I can use it for cuffs, heels and toes with whatever’s left.

As we drove the Giant and I got lost and ended up near downtown Seattle.

Oops, luckily it wasn’t too hard to get turned back around (and we avoidedthe toll road, woo)

The weekened was rounded out with the arrival of my bestie back in town. Ironically she had returned home (our previous location) for a visit with her family  around the time we were moving here.An evening walk for the Giant and I meant we got to not only see her and the pup, but also take advantage of the view from near our place.

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Sunday was a trip to the dog park (which was sadly void of little dogs) but the Giant and Magpie became fast friends.

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The three of us (Magpie stayed home) went to dinner and thanks to the an accidental order I ended up with another awesome shirt.

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It says “In Otter News” 

We decided they were co-anchors for the evening.

How’d your weekend go?

Fresh From the Needles Friday: Handspun Edition

Say wha? Two finished objects in a week, it’s almost like I have nothing else to do but work on knitting….(wait.) In all seriousness I guess I needed a goal or something to focus on, besides the fact that I still do not have any of my stuff. My top list of things I miss the most has wavered slighty, it was keurig, bed, couch. Now I am tossing the wheels in there, just below my coffee maker, why? I managed to score a braid of Moonrover destash and it’s currently heading to me. It’s times like this that make me realize I need to pick up a spindle (or four) again.

Speaking of Moonrover, that’s actually where the finished object stems from. I am sporadically a part of the moonrover fiber club, (it’s at three month intervals and finances have been topsy-turvy in the last few years…boo health related issues)  which I recommend to anyone who loves fiber done right. Seriously she’s pretty much the only dyer I am consistently stalking watching for updates/destashes. Check her out…or wait maybe not because then that means more competition for me…no seriously check her out.

This is the first braid of hers that I spun (way back in October of last year.) I was shooting for a self striping sock weight yarn, and I think I managed pretty well. However through my own stubbornness I decided it was very important for me to attempt to spin it the way I wanted (which was pretty much how the braid was set up…I have no real explanation on this other than I considered omitting the pink section, but ended up putting it back in.)

Sewknitpicky mentioned on her last podcast the “issue” that can develop when you chain-ply a yarn (your inconsistencies show up, thin is thin, thicker is thicker.) Which makes sense to me, but was reaffirmed with this pair. Because I was silly and didn’t just rip the strips down the line, but instead did the oh-so-scientific method of dividing into sections and eyeballing it, I ended up with longer sections of colors at different parts of the yarn. Just what the heck am I talking about?

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The striping on the left sock is fairly consistent and ultimately what I was hoping for, the right is what happens when I “eyeball it.” The foot of the right sock starts to pick back up with the shorter striping sequence, but it still has far larger sections than the left.

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The sock on the right only managed to get one stripe of the blue, which is a bummer because that is by far my favorite part. I do love all of it though, even the pink which kind of surprises me.

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As soon as I sat down to take a photo he came racing over (from a dead sleep) to try to get in the shot. I had to move around three times just to get photos without his little kitty feet (or face.)

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I have come to realize just how much I take my sock blockers for granted, they make photographing so much easier (and you don’t have to be blinded by my incredibly pale legs.) I have also come to realize that I have no way of actually measuring my remaining yardage. This is a bummer because I have a lot left over and we all know my “eyeballing” skills aren’t to be trusted. I am thinking it’s going to be more than a enough for a hat, but I’ll probably have to wait because like everything else, most of my knitting needles are on their way to me.

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I have to say I really didn’t expect to knock these out as quickly as I did. They were a back burner project, but with the end of Sock it to Summer approaching I guess my desire for something to focus on was enough of a kick in the pants. This of course means I have the shawl (which is already at the edging), a pair of socks for the Giant (which I don’t believe I can finished before the end of the month….but now that I say that…) and the, previously only intended as drastic measures back up, lace cardigan (although I ended up bring the wrong needles with me for it, so I either need to go out and buy a pair (darn) or try to hold out until everything shows up.

Specs on the socks:
Yarn: Handspun-from Moonrover fiber club Feb 2015
Needles: US 1, 2.25mm
Pattern: My own basic sock with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel

So for my first pair of handspun socks for me I am pretty excited, of course today we are back up in the 90’s so they will have to languish a bit longer before getting any use.

Happy Friday everyone. Anyone have any fun plans?

Slightly less fresh from the needles

So here we are Tuesday and almost one full week of being out in the PNW. It’s sunny again, which is okay I guess, as long as the temperature stays cooler I won’t complain. It’s weird but some of the leaves have already started to turn which makes me happy. My very first visit to the area was last year in October and Autumn was in full swing, which may or may not have colored my perspective on the place.

On another note I did manage to finish one of the projects I brought along to tide me over until the stash arrives. These were actually completed while we were still on the road, they managed to be knit in 5 out of the 7 states we passed through on our way out here which is pretty good in my book.

These mark my second pair for SewKnitPicky’s Sock It To Summer Year 4 KAL. (It goes until the end of the month….check out her Ravelry group (Knot a podcast) for details.) Which is great and sad at the same time. I had sincerely hoped to have gotten more pairs done, but I guess since I lost about a month and a half in there to the whole, ‘pack up your entire life and head West’ thing it’s not too bad.

If you follow me on instagram you may have heard the saga of these socks, if not let me recap for you. For the most part the cats leave my yarn alone, unless it is actively touching them (because they must be right next to you) fiber is a different story, and handspun in a toss up. However for some reason one of our tabby’s decided that this yarn must not only be stolen but also chomped on and therefore broken. (Side note, he did not actually eat the yarn instead he stole the ball/cake, played with it by flinging it around and creating a giant stringy mess, and chewing it. Which resulted in a lot of rewinding and dealing with severed bits (aka weaving a lot of extra ends.)

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Don’t let the cute face fool you, he was out for blood.

The socks eventually ended up getting finished and I was able to retain enough for the sock blanket.

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Of course when it came to photos, that very same tabby had to sneak into a few shots.

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Sock Specs:

Yarn: Knit Picks Felici
Colorway: Foxglove
Pattern: Modified Rose City Rollers (Fish Lips Kiss Heel)
Needles: US 0 or 2.0 mm

I’m going to take the win and just roll with it.

 

 

 

Heatwave

One of the reasons the Giant and I decided on moving out to the PNW was the climate. For the most part it is rainy, cloudy and cool. When you ask people to describe Seattle, they will probably mention the rain. One thing few people mention (or think about) is that due to that cool, wet, cloudy climate few places (aside from larger businesses) have central air. When the Giant and I arrived last week and were greeted with temperatures in the mid to upper 90’s, we both felt a little disappointed. Coming from the Midwest where temperatures tend to be mid to upper 90’s from late June to early/mid September, the heat wave was a serious flaw in our plan. Thankfully it only lasted until Sunday and the heat finally snapped and we are back to that oh so sought after PNW weather. Side note here, as who has lived in the aforementioned Midwest I was more than a little thrown when there was no heat index, 94 felt like 94. My mind was even more boggled when I noticed that in the city it was 94 degrees but felt like 89.

The last week and weekend were spent trying avoid the heat, combined with exploring the area a bit. So far no yarn shops have been visited, which is good because I have more than enough yarn on its way, along with almost everything else. Yeah, so about that whole moving and having your stuff follow, let me just sum it up by saying I never truly appreciated what it was like to have something to sit on (other than a pillow and the floor.)

With the cooler weather I have finally been able to pick up my knitting again, which means the eyeblink shawl is cruising along. The shawl body is done and now I am working on the black lace edging (yeah that slight thud you heard was my head on a metaphorical desk.) The process has improved now that I finally secured a lamp. The lamp in question actually belongs to the Giant, and had been packed away (by him) in his little box of chargers and power cords. Since Wednesday I have been doing without a lamp, relying only on the small light that shines from the closet area in our bedroom and a large emergency flashlight that I packed along, because of course I did.

The Giant has been going to sleep far earlier than I and as a result had not seen my makeshift lighting situation. I, in my infite wisdom had simply tried to make do, until last night when I was muttering to myself about a lack of light and finally voiced my desire for a lamp. Thirty seconds later I was good to go with a very bright and very helpful lamp. Moral of this story? Take five seconds to communicate your needs with your partner, because the whole four nights without a lamp are on me. (Where’s that desk?)

How’s the start of your week going so far?

 

Arrival

1660.6 miles. Seven states. 2 adults, 3 cats and 24 hours spent in a tiny 3 door hatchback.

We’ve made it. Actually we made it mid-afternoon Wednesday, but the evening was spent attempting to acclimate to a non-sitting position and a quick trip to grab food. Thursday, the Giant and I headed out and about exploring a bit more before once again trying to adjust to time changes, weather changes, and all the other changes that occur when you pack your life up and head to somewhere else. More on that later, for now let’s talk about the trip!

Monday around noon the Giant and I made one final pass through our house and loaded the cats and ourselves into our little car, with one last drive through  the place we have called home for a little over 5 years (non-consecutively) we headed out on the open road towards the Pacific Northwest.

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That first day we covered three states, including the one we started in, Nebraska, Iowa and our final stopping point was South Dakota. The Nebraska to Iowa trip was a familiar one, but with no time to waste we could only pass by some of the areas I grew up with. The majority of the trip was our trek through South Dakota. A state I will freely admit I had not traveled further west than Sioux Falls. Even so I felt fairly confident I knew what to expect with the state (fields of corn and soybeans and maybe a few cattle farms.) This proved true for a large part of the trip, aside from a few highlights.

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First, Wall Drug. Now again having admitted the non-traveling outside of easternmost parts of the state I was aware of Wall Drug, but never really investigated it/thought about it. Well this trip certainly changed my awareness level. There seemed to be three different types of billboard for Wall Drug that they rotated every x number of miles along the way (and when you are about 4.5 hours away that turns into a lot of billboards.) There are also billboards for some “1880’s town” that were interspersed with the Wall Drug billboards. It was almost a tie for which of the two places I was more annoyed of hearing about, until we passed the 1880’s town and saw that they had of all the random things in the world, a camel. A freaking camel….who I might add was just hanging out in a field near the “town” munching on some grass. I was so flummoxed that I couldn’t help but laugh at it all.

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The second highlight was crossing the Missouri river. It was cool because the Missouri river is something that helps divide Iowa and Nebraska (my two most frequented states) and I was finally crossing it somewhere else. Of course this meant we had to cross a bridge. (Fun fact I dislike bridges, more on that later.) The view was pretty at least.

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As the sun began to set we arrived in Wall, SD (of course the Wall Drug signs continued throughout the town.) It is important to note that this is my own personal opinion of the following: While I thought finding an apartment that accepted three cats was a challenge, finding hotels that would allow them proved a bit more interesting the first hotel was….well let’s just say that I feel as though it could have been a setting for one of the Law and Order episodes. 

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Luckily we survived the night and headed out early for our next destination. We drove by the badlands and saw signs for Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone, but this wasn’t a vacation we had another destination we had to reach. The one thing we definitely got to see were fields upon fields of sunflowers. South Dakota was just covered in them.

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Not counting SD as our starting point for the day we ended up crossing two states this time, Wyoming and Montana. Neither of which I had ever been to before. I have been to Colorado (once) and for some reason I was expecting it to be similar terrain (read mountains.)

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As someone who has lived in the Midwest their entire life, I thought I knew what big open space was. Granted I lived in cities, not farms but I drove through enough of the area to feel fairly certain I knew what endless meant. Nope, not even close. There was just so much of it: sky, land, hills, sky, cows, sheep, sky, horses, did I mention sky? Seriously It was one of those things that you think you understand until you get there and realize you never really could have known. Now however I completely understand why it’s called “big sky country.”

 

Of course after half a day of driving through the big openness the novelty wore off and I (and the cats for sure) were more than ready to 1)see something other than big vastness and 2) ready to get to the hotel. Luckily we hit Bozeman and started to see some variety and by the time we made it to Butte we were greeted with a definite change of scenery.

 

The hotel this time was significantly less scary and at least two of the cats made quick work of claiming their spots.

(When we lived in the Chicago area, our grey cat had a habit of constantly draping himself across the air conditioner. When we moved back to Omaha the habit continued, but this time it was limited to vents. The edges of his fur flutter so adorably in the breeze that it is sometimes hard to do anything but snap a photo and give him a couple of scritches…until it becomes too warm and you have to move him off of the unit to cool the place down again…but I digress)

Day Three found us with two more states, Idaho and finally Washington, but first we had to make it through more of Montana. Luckily the western portion of the state is far more varied than the big vast openness of the eastern portion.

Also, I have come to realize that should I ever need to move somewhere else, Montana will be on my list. Why you ask? Well because there are places that are devoted to all things Huckleberry. I don’t discuss my love of Huckleberry, mainly because it’s difficult to damn near impossible to find in the Midwest (at least for me.) So when we made a quick stop on the border before heading into Idaho and found a town that featured numerous signs and locations with a variety of huckleberry options I could not resist purchasing a slushy-surgery-huckleberry-goodness, even though it was only about 7:30 am at that point.

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It was worth the brain freeze, it was worth the sugary, sticky mess. It was so worth it, that my only regret was that I didn’t get more.

Our jaunt through Idaho was fairly brief, but the scenery was amazing. So much so that the Giant insisted we stop (at a desginated area) and jump out for quick photos.

Horace had to get in on the action again (finally) he had gotten a bit lost in the reorganizing of the car on day two so his photos are limited to that first and last day. In order to make up for it, he was included in most of our photos for the rest of the day.

As beautiful and lush and green as Idaho was, Eastern Washington was not. It was dry and bare and made me miss the endless green fields of crops from my beloved Midwest.

Fortunately (and unfortunately) we eventually found the Columbia river. I say fortunately because it was a dramatic change in to the varying shades of sand and dirt we had been experiencing since Idaho. It was unfortunate because we had to cross a very large bridge over a very large body of water. (Have I ever mentioned I don’t like bridges? Yeah I have this big irrational fear of neither the thing collapsing, the car careening off the side or even just getting stuck on one. I blame some of the whole bridge thing to the film I saw in a physics class about the Tacoma bridge disaster. 1:23 mark) Anyway the crossing did help a bit in terms of our view, the Cascades started to appear and the fields were starting to look a bit more like the farm land I was familiar with.

 

Around the time we got close enough to actually see the green trees and mountains, was around the same time that I started to get hit with another wave of motion sickness. This coincided with me stupidly dropping my phone (with the directions on it) below my seat. I made a few feeble attempts at recovery, but eventually the Giant had to pull over so I could properly retrieve it. As I went for the phone, I managed to first hit my head on the radio knob (which let me tell you hurts likes none other) I then managed to get my wrist caught in a weird angle as I tried to reach under the seat. This was followed by me hitting my head a second time, however this time it was the shifter (which hurts even more.) At this point I snapped. I had been in a car for three days with various levels of cat car sickness, meowing and just their own anxieties. I had been playing co-pilot/navigator for the Giant, been dealing with motion sickness that made me envy people who own boats. We had gone through a variety of different elevations, crossed two time zones and seven states. I was just done. I ended up slamming my hand on the side of the door of the car quite hard (stupid I know) and I yelled and swore and cried and basically just had a few moments where all I wanted to do was go back to Nebraska and forget this whole long mess had happened.

 

Fortunately the Giant remained sane enough to realize that wasn’t a possibility and after checking on my various levels of bruising, and that I did in fact manage to get my phone; he continued the drive through the cascades. Which of course are beautiful. The mountains/rocks/novelty of it all was amazingly cathartic. The trees, oh my gosh guys, the trees here are so amazing. I’ve grown up in older neighborhood with established oaks or maple, some birch, weeping willows, some pine trees that seem to climb as high as the houses next to them. They are nothing compared to the trees here. The sheer number is mind boggling, the heights they reach have caused me to stop walking and just stare (or just stare out the window, with a wonder that made me feel that same sense of smallness and amazement as I did in Montana.

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Around 3:30pm local time: 2 adults, 3 cats, 24 hours in a car and 1660.6 miles in a tiny three door hatchback arrived.

We got the keys to our new place and let the boys out to explore. The next big part of our adventure is waiting for all of our things to arrive. Until then we have an air mattress and some minor cooking equipment and are just taking it day by day.

 

Road Trip Wips

As I may have mentioned before The Giant and I are packing ourselves and the cats up and heading off to our new home in the next few days. Whatever we don’t pack in the car will be arriving about 2-4 weeks after us. Now we have a tiny car, and between clothing, cats, food (for the cats), cookware (for us), and misc other things we need there is not a lot of room for extras. Luckily I have a backpack from my graduate school/college days that doubles as a laptop carrier so I have at least a little bit of room to stuff some WIP’s in. Now I tried to be somewhat realistic when packing these projects. They have to be smaller items or at least squishable, they should be something I won’t finish too quickly, they need to be interesting but also mindless and they should be varied enough, so that if we don’t get our items until week four (shudder) I won’t be clawing at the walls in frustration.

While there are many projects that fit this description I decided to stick mainly with actual works in progress, with two new projects should I run out of knitting.

First up is a pair of modified Rose City Rollers I have been keeping on the back burner for the most part. These are knit on size 0’s and contain the fish lips kiss heel (hence the modification.) I am using some random stash by way of Knit Picks Felici in the foxglove colorway. Somehow the two skeins I had of this yarn became separated along the way and part of one made its way into my sock yarn blanket, while a part of another made it’s way into a random sock that was languishing in the cross stitching supplies. Don’t ask me when or how it ended up in that bin, but it was found and promptly frogged. While Felici is known for it’s striping and softness (although it pills like a mo fo) I wasn’t too bothered by this fact and instead knit my little heart out, letting the colors fall where they may.

It’s hard to see but the first completed sock as a small stripe of the darker pink that separates the two light pink sections. The second sock has more of the darker pink to act as a divider. Since I am past the heel and zooming* along these might actually be completed before we head out (don’t hold me to that.)

*The zooming is less zooming due to this yarn thief.

He’s been taking every opportunity to absconce with the yarn ball, which means not only do I have to chase him (which he loves and is part of the reason he does it) I also have to untangle and rewind the yarn. Don’t let his cuteness fool you, he’s also a big fan of trying to eat the yarn and so when I knit I often come across small sections of wet spots which is unnerving to say the least.

Next up and what I assume will be a big part of my road trip knitting is a shawl that I cast on thanks to the amazing Laura from the Knit Shift Podcast.  Thanks to her rave reviews I decided to cast one on and becuase I was feeling a little down I chose some yarn I had been saving for just such a project. Lamby Toes in the Botanical Baddie colorway (fun fact this was a custom request that turned into a repeatable colorway, which makes me happy…my wallet less so, although I managed to avoid the last few skeins.) I also added in some generic black sock yarn as a small stripe every x number of rows. This helps to break up the lamby (not that it’s needed) and extend it by an ever so little amount (totally needed.)

The shawl itself is EyeBlink by Heidi Alander and it is a wonderful garter stitch crescent shaped shawl with some lace on the edging. Because of the way Heidi made her pattern you can theoretically size this bad boy up as long as you keep your stitch numbers divisable by 6 (which is theoretically easy to do thanks to her increases.)

I have already exceeded the minimum number of stitches and the plan is to go until I run out of Lamby yarn and knit the lace border with the contrasting black yarn. I do have another skein of Lamby in my stash, but I am holding out for now I would love a pair of socks and a hat from this colorway (and frankly the skein is just as pretty to pet and look at.)

Should I finish (or grow bored, ha!) of the shawl knitting, I do have two more pairs of socks currently in progress.

The first is for the Giant, with just a cuff done I have quite a few hours left before this is anywhere close to being done.

These will be a basic vanilla pair for him. The yarn is Lang Yarns, Jawoll Aktion.

The other sock is knit out of some handspun made from a Moonrover Feburary 2015 club colorway.

These are the first handspun socks for me and I am actually pretty fond of them. When spinning I couldn’t decide if I wanted to keep that bright orange and/or the pink you can kind of see in the cuff. In the end I tweaked the order and kept the colors.

Should I manage to somehow finish all of these projects, I have yarn for another pair of socks. They were chosen specifically because we will be crossing into two different time zones.

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Of course it had to be KP Felici in the Time Traveler colorway.

The last project will for sure last me until I am once again reunited with my stash (and then some.)

These two skeins represent a lace weight cardigan I plan on knitting up. The gray will be the main body (three more skeins of this) and the blown out blue (which is more of heathery blue) will be the contrasting stripes. No pattern as of yet but I am think raglan with an open front.

So there you have it the projects I am hoping last me from now until the next time I see my stash. Fingers crossed they last.

Have you ever had to plan for a big trip and decide on knitting? What are your criteria when you are picking travel projects?

 

Fresh from the Wheel:Tuesday’s Summer Picnic

In a somewhat desperate attempt to avoid thinking about all the things needed for the move let me share with you my latest handspun. Because of the aforementioned moving situation I had to actually take the time to clear off the wheel, oh darn legit motivation, the singles have been languishing on the bobbin for about a week (maybe two.) Mind you it took almost two months to get the singles actually spun (I can’t blame this one on the move.)

The yarn is 100% Shetland Wool in the Picnic in the Park 2 colorway.

Handpainted roving - Shetland wool spinning fiber - 4.0 ounces - Picnic at the Park 2

The photo above is from the seller, EdgewoodGardenStudios and let me tell you that shop is full of serious temptations (you’ve been warned.)

Now you may notice that there is a healthy dose of yellow in the fiber, which isn’t normally my thing, but the faux rainbow effect was enough to draw me in. I decided to spin this yarn in strips from top to bottom, the plan was to chain ply and end up with something close to self striping yarn.

This actually worked pretty well, the fiber was a dream to spin (seriously go check that shop out, her stuff is just amazing.) I ended up trying to spin thin but without over twisting,  a very common problem for me, I think it worked for the most part. I ran into two instances, when chain plying, where the fiber wasn’t twisted enough and fell apart.

For anyone that does chain plying on the regular, do you run into this? If so how do you fix it? I often bungle my way through it, trying to get enough twist to reattach the singles but there was one time it ended up with more of a mess than a fix. I would love to hear from you on how to handle it, or if you have any online links to where I could figure it out. It would appear my google-fu isn’t working as well because I can’t seem to find anything addressing this particular issue.

Anyways the yarn was plied and had a little bit of a rest (not much because of the whole moving thing and time limitations) before I wound it off and gave it a little bath. Luckily it dried fairly quickly and Sunday afternoon I was able to snap a few photos. Okay, the truth is I tried to snap a few photos, as of late my shaking hands have resulted in less than stellar photos, but the Giant lent his steady hands and I manged to get a good shot.

Remember how I mentioned the yellow from before? Yeah I don’t know if it is just me or what, but I am picking up a lot of it in the photo and even more so in the skein. I still love it.

The yardage is approximately 432 yards, but that could be off (sleep issues plus foggy brain means I had some difficulty counting, it didn’t help that one of the cats insisted on being a velcro kitty with the yarn.) Fun fact though, this was my first time chain-plying on my double treadle wheel so there is that minor flush of pride because it isn’t completely messed up. The plan for the yarn as of now is a pair of handspun socks for The Giant but that is down the road.

Unfortunately both wheels (unless somebody decides to snap Bea up-shameless self-promotion here) will have to go on the moving truck (there’s simply no room in our tiny car) and so it means spinning will be on hold for awhile (I sold my spindles off earlier this year, but hopefully I can remedy that soon.)

The big thing left to do fiber wise is figure out just what projects to pack. If you had a two- four week time frame to have to plan your knitting around what projects would you chose?

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