I promised

I told you I would finish something last weekend, and I did!  In fact, this has been a week of finishes, it is pretty amazing!  Gone is my feeling of tediously making no progress. Having a whole extra day off due to the ice storm was great for finishes. I declared it a pajama day and sat knitting and spinning ALL DAY.  It was great!

I finished the shawl for Purple Fleece, and delivered it Saturday at Whorls and Purls. The wind was whipping when we took these photos! Brrrr.

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I finished the Derry Cowl to go with the sweater.  It might be too tall.  I made it according to pattern, but with different yarn.  My yarn isn’t as drapey, it seems. It’s been blocked, and still has loads of body – maybe it will soften a bit with wear? In this photo I folded it down, which works. And I am wearing it with the Derry sweater which I don’t think you have seen yet. You can’t see the pretty lace pattern on the sleeve , but it is there, and matches the cowl.

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I finished the purple THING – second try at a scarf – for niece B’s Christmas (well, it turns out, birthday, still late) and delivered that today.

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I finished these two skeins of yarn – yes, two!  I dyed the fleece a while ago, and spun these both up in a few days.  They are only about an ounce each, and came in between 90-100 yards.  They will go with the two other similar weight skeins I dyed and become some kind of scarf or cowl.  I am thinking linen stitch scarf, though I hate knitting scarves and I get bored with linen stitch.  But they look so pretty when they are done… so who knows.  I did one skein that was supposed to be predominantly yellow, one that is red, one blue, and then one that was supposed to be blue and green but when I spun it, it came out teal, which is actually really pretty.  Still sorting out this whole dyeing/spinning/ what the heck will it look like thing.

Here’s the yellow and red before spinning.

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And here’s the yellow after spinning:

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And the red (with a  tiny skein of red plied with yellow):

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I worked on socks and mittens at Whorls and Purls yesterday – came home and finished the mittens. These are the most luxurious mittens! Love the cashmere blend lining. The ladies at knitting threatened to snitch them if I bring back the completed pair. 😉

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I am working away on my socks, as I will all year – trying REALLY hard to only do a pair every couple of months, it is amazing the fortitude that takes, to not whizz through them and start the next pair.  🙂 Especially because the next pair will be made with my handspun yarn.  🙂  This pair is in Caper Sock, colorway Stella Blue and I love the softness of the yarn and color.  I’ll be happy to be wearing them. The leg is much farther along than this, only about an inch left to go.

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As for spinning – I have several pretty braids to choose from for my next spin.  I have been contemplating a BIG SPIN, for me anyway, using three braids of finn, dyed in different colorways by Three Water Farm.  Two I got intending to ply them together, but as I was looking over my stash, I realized that the third one held enough of the same colors that they would look great together.  So, I am thinking spin them all and ply them together.  But then what to make with the pile of yarn?  It won’t be enough for a sweater, but I don’t need a kazillion hats.  Then I had an idea, and I went stash diving.  Sure enough – I have an ancient pile of a solid teal yarn that matches it beautifully (if it comes out the color that I think it will, that is.  🙂 ) and I have about 950 yards of that.  If I can spin this to roughly that same weight, I WILL have enough for a sweater.

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But I also have a few individual pretty braids that I love – one a silk merino that I JUST LOVE but have no idea what I will do with – might ply it with some pure silk lace weight yarn I have, I am even thinking I could use one of my new books for inspiration and add beads to the yarn, but then what? …

 

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and then this special braid –

 

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This is the latest from the Purple Fleece Roving of the month club – and Debbie used one of my photos as her inspiration for the variegated one, so named it after me! Check it out!  I love it and ordered a braid of the compliment so that I will have 6 ounces of merino blended with YAK of all things – OMG, it is so soft!  I have no idea what I will make with this, but I am itching to spin it. Maybe a nice soft cowl?

It is so hard to decide – I prepped the combo spin and the gold and copper silk merino, let them sit in sight for a few days… this morning I decided, and started the big combo spin. It should keep me busy for a few months. 😀

 

 

 

 

Best winter phone call

The boss called. No work today!!!

 

Bring on the fiber crafts!

 

and try not to worry about A traveling the length of the state today. She has studded tires, roads will be sanded, and it should be rain on the coast. She will be fine. My mantra.

Why it pays to dress neatly on a Monday

You just never know when the local bank branch manager is going to want to come over with a donation.  And arrives with the “BIG CHECK” for a photo opportunity.

Glad I was wearing a pretty hand-spun, hand-knit shawl today.  🙂

Finally!

I knit and knit and knit and spin and spin and spin and for so long, seemed to have nothing to show for the effort.  My fingers made the fiber go round and round for days, weeks even, with little progress made.  I stopped taking progress photos because they looked the same, day after day.

Or so it seemed.

Then suddenly one day, I had this!

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And this!

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And this!

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Progress is being made after all. But I am re-learning a lesson I learned long ago and then let go by the wayside.  Try to keep to two, or at the most, three WIPs.  More than that, and even though I knit diligently on all, progress is slow.  I need the gratification of a finished object now and then.

Right now I have a mitten and a half, half a sock, half a shawl, and half a scarf on the needles.

So I won’t be casting on anything new until I get my WIPs under control.  Which should not be too long now – look at the progress I am making!

And of course I WILL start a new spin. I’m looking through my fiber stash in my mind to see what will be next. But I am knitting on that mitten while I ponder it. 😀

Inventory Clearance Sale!

Today I had to go to Franklin for work.  On the way there, I drove past what used to be my “LYS” (Local Yarn Store to those of you unaddicted to fiber), Shirley’s Yarns and Crafts.

There was a BIG sign out front “Inventory Clearance Sale  20% off January 9-14”

I kept driving.

In my family there is a funny rule about ice cream shops.  You can drive to and from an ice cream shop but not past an ice cream shop.  Long story how it came to be, but one of my aunts was giving directions, and said “go past the ice cream shop” and she was immediately corrected.  Go to the ice cream shop, stop, get an ice cream, and then from the ice cream shop, continue on. Thus it has been evermore.

I am that way with yarn stores, especially those with signs like that out front.  But I was on a mission, so I kept going.  But I wondered… did they have some sock yarn that would coordinate with what I am spinning now, in case I don’t get enough yardage for my planned socks?  I could do a different heel and toe if I had to…

On the way back, I stopped.  They truly were having a big sale, and they had TONS of sock yarn, I am not kidding.  For a small shop, the selection was amazing. I decided to show some self restraint and limited myself to what I could pay for with the cash in my wallet, which ruled out taking the whole section.  🙂

I tried to visualize the in-progress yarn, which has pink, purple, orange, and green.  I knew I didn’t want green, and I didn’t want the wrong purple.  I thought pink or orange could be fun.  But there were no solids in those exact colors.  I walked around for a bit with a pretty, brightly dyed multicolored yarn, but eventually put it back – I want my handspun to be the stars of this show, not fight for attention with this yarn.

I finally picked up this skein.

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I know, not pink, orange, purple nor green! But the fiber content is close to what I am spinning, and so if I think I will need it, I will wind off some of this and dye it.  Brilliant!

And if I don’t need it, I can dye it any color I want, right?  And I needed some more sock yarn if I am going to knit 4-6 pairs this year.  AND it was on sale.  And I had plenty of cash to cover the price.

So I think I did pretty well going to and from the yarn store. And the clearance sale is still going on, through tomorrow in case any of you want to check it out.  🙂

 

 

Well, that was a week!

It started with meeting some new friends and seeing some old ones, at a Ravelry meet-up last Sunday. Due to snowfall Saturday night, there were only three of us knitters, but our hostess, Chefadina on Ravelry made us feel very welcome, we met her family and her neighbors (the old friends) stopped by.  Her new place is beautiful, a big old house that most recently was a B and B.  It sits high above the river, and is just filled with lovely light.

Monday started tax training, and as always it was, well, taxing.  The software is new to us all, still has bugs, so things would suddenly work or not work, and the state returns aren’t ready yet.  We were all glad when it was over on Friday.  Now, in two weeks, we meet again, and hope to have some state software available to work on.  The first of February is when we start seeing clients, we would like to have a clue what we are doing before than!

Because I was responsible for leading the group in the hands on exercises in the afternoon, I was not able to do my usual thing – knit hats! But we were in a chilly room so I wore lots of hand knit shawls and sweaters (not all at once) and got lots of compliments.

When I was home, though, I was knitting and spinning.  Here’s a shot of my snow fling mittens in progress. They will get a soft lining, and so are taking a long time, but I now have two mittens that look like this.  I’ll have to close up the tops, then do the linings.

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Here’s a dark shot of my spinning. It is a merino/nylon mix from Three Waters Farm, in the colorway Garden Center. I am spinning this to make socks, so divided it in thirds, thinking I would do a traditional three ply.  But then I started reading my two spinning books I got for Christmas, and I decided to spin a three ply yarn with one opposing ply.  So for those of you who understand these things, I will spin two singles with a Z twist, and one with an S twist, then ply them all together with an S twist.  I hope I am spinning thin enough that I will get enough yardage for a pair of socks, but we will see.  I can always make the heels and toes in a contrasting color if need be.  But I would rather not.  PS that black is really a wonderful dark purple.

 

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This week also marked the start of a new year of Socks with Sarah on Ravelry.  If you have followed me for a few years, you know that the last time she had this activity, I knit socks like a wild woman, and finished 26 pairs in the year.  This year, I have decided to purposely restrain myself.  I am aiming for between 4-6 pairs this year. This is the start of my first pair – Stella Blue  on Caper Sock base from String Theory Hand Dyed Yarns.  I am using my basic go-to sock pattern – Fundamental Toe Up socks .  64 stitches on number one needles, these will take a while to knit, because they are NOT my focus.  🙂  I swear it.

I hope my second pair will be the handspun yarn, and I do have a skein of yarn I got at Fiber Frolic for my third pair.  Not sure what I will do for the 4th or later pairs, but I expect something will turn up!

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The other knitting I am working on is a cowl to go with my recently completed Derry sweater – no photos yet, but I will try to get some soon.  And I frogged the last bit of secret knitting and cast on an endless scarf with the yarn instead.  I hope to finish that this week. The first thing I was working on was an interesting finished garment, but a ridiculous amount of stockinette in a boring tube.  And it kept snagging on things, because the thin yarn and huge needles left loads of holes.  I figured if it was snagging in my project bag, it would be shredded in no time with normal wear.  Not a nice thought, so I ripped it out. The recipient returns to town next week sometime, I would like to have it ready for her.

So that is how I got through the work week – and was so glad to see this weekend come!  Yesterday I did some chores around the house, then took the trash, the grocery list and my knitting, and headed off to knitting group, stopping at the dump on the way there, and the grocery store on the way back.  Got to drive the truck that way.  And got credit for helping out around the house even while disappearing for several hours. 🙂

Today was a little more low key – cleared the snow off the cars and cleaned the pellet stove – two not fun chores.  A couple of inches of snow on smooth ice is treacherous walking, but I got the cars cleared without mishap. Then we took down the Christmas tree and tossed it out into the woods.  Now, this sounds like a lot of work, but here’s the thing – we never decorated the tree.  We only put on it the ornaments we got for Christmas, no lights, no garland, nothing. We just ran out of energy and time, but I loved our minimalist tree!  It was pretty and smelled divine.  I was able to toss it to the woods from the deck, so the wasn’t too awful..  The birds are already using it to shelter while they hit the feeders.

Other than those big chores, this was a low key day, a pajama afternoon.  Cleaning the pellet stove gets the stove clean and me filthy – so after my shower, I just decided that noon was a good time for PJs! I made a shepherd’s pie for supper for the next few days – back on the diet for real tomorrow.  Life will hopefully return to normal now that last week is really over.  🙂

I have spinning and knitting to get done!