Practice & Progress

Oh my, how did a month get away from me? I have a few exciting things to report about. Let’s get right to it…

My first bit of news is I finished a skein of handspun. My first this year. Spinning has been a really slow hobby lately but I’m not forcing it. I am only spinning when I’m really in the mood. As my crafting time is limited, I’m trying to give in to the ebb and flow of my creative energy.

This is 615 yards of about a fingering weight wool. I wasn’t sure what it was when I bought it at my local yarn shop, but after some googling I realized this is a wool blend from Kraemer Yarns: Mauch Chunky Roving in the Jelly Bean colorway. Also, with a little more research, I realized I had spun this fiber before! I actually spun some of this five years ago, when I had only been spinning on my new wheel for a few DAYS! Here was my first take on this wool:

I found the old skein and looked at the two side-by-side. It’s a true testament to practice & progress.

This yarn isn’t soft. It’s a more rustic wool for sure, but I think it will make a lovely shawl. It was fun to spin – a nice straight staple. I also like how it looks like cream from a distance but has all these lovely colors when you look closely. Heathered yarns are my favorite.

I’ve also recently finished a pair of handspun socks! These are from a merino/tencel blend. This yarn was also spun in my first few weeks of learning to spin in 2010. Sometimes yarns have to marinate awhile before they tell you what they want to become, right? ;)

Do I even need to say Fish Lips Heel anymore? Fish Lips Heel & Pretty Little Fiber Co. = love, forever.

The last thing I’d like to share today is PLFC was featured in a magazine…what!! I was asked if a feature could be written about my blog in Knit Now magazine quite some time back. I tried to not get excited… I’ve had a lot of things fall through involving “blog features” & things of that nature so I was at the point where I didn’t even want to tell anyone about it – (one of my peeves is people who LACK FOLLOW-THRU – especially when I end up wasting my time!) So when I received a package from the UK I didn’t even know what the heck it was! But I opened up and there was the magazine with my feature. So exciting!

It’s been rainy and chilly here. I’m ready for summer to start blazing! I hope you are all enjoying your Spring.

Warm Weather Knits

Hey everyone!

While it hasn’t exactly been sunny and warm here like I had hoped it would be by now (I guess I was being naive when I packed away all my shawls and hats) my mind is still focused on warm weather! Particularly warm weather knits. I’ve never been one to really get excited about summery knits, but this year I’m feeling it!

I bought the newest Knitscene because I saw the Green Apple Tank on Ravelry and was smitten by the sweet criss-cross back. I grabbed some Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool that’s been in my stash for some time and cast on. This is my first time using this yarn and I love it already. It has such a nice soft hand to it. And this color…sigh. Lovin’ it.

I modified the neckline after trying to knit it to pattern – it was just going all kinds of weird for me. It has more of a scooped neck now and I think I’m going to like it better.

Another thing I’ve been working on lately is another Fluid and this time out of handspun. I’m in a big handspun phase right now and have been spinning up a storm and dreaming up projects for all my handspun. It’s so fun.

This one is more like kiddo size since I made it shorter but it fits me too. The fiber blend is a merino/tencel so it has a nice sheen.

And lastly stash enhancement! I’ve been trying not to shop because I’m going on a fibery trip this summer, but I couldn’t resist a couple new braids when the spinning bug bit me again. I decided to try Three Waters Farm because I’ve heard such wonderful things about them and the colors are fabulous! I grabbed a braid of merino/silk and corriedale. They’re so pretty and living on my coffee table… I just need to hurry up and finish my current spin so I can start on one of these!

Confession time! I finished my Sonnensegel and then promptly took it to my yarn shop for display and never even thought to take a picture of it. Ah well! Maybe I’ll snap one in the store the next time I’m there. Oops!

Sonnensegel

Happy Monday to you! I’ve been wanting to share this project with you all, but the timing never worked out right or I had too many other things to blog about. BUT it is a lovely project. This is called Sonnensegel and it is a shawl, or scarf? It’s a big triangle basically, alternating stripes of garter stitch (done in Noro) and stockinette (using Rowan Kidsilk Haze).

You start with just a few stitches and increase as you go. It’s really easy to memorize, and gets to be pretty mindless, so it’s wonderful social or movie-watching knitting. I think it would be gorgeous in some handspun and a nice laceweight yarn. I have to say while I love the colors in the Noro, it was really annoying how the Noro and Kidsilk loved to grip onto each other…tangly mess! But the colors are beautiful. My LYS owner picked out these colors – this will be a shop sample for her.

This project is finished. It just needs a healthy blocking, and I’ll take some FO photos shortly after!

An update on my Exploration Station. The brioche KICKED MY BUTT. I totally messed it up and had to frog the section. I’m hoping I will be up to the challenge for round two… I guess I’ve been put in my place! I’m not used to getting stumped by my knitting… it’s ON!!

I think I’ll leave you with some “good things” today to start your week right. :)

+ Susan B. Anderson has a new shawl pattern based on one of my absolute FAVORITE childhood books. I’m gonna have to knit it.

+ I’ve got my eye on plenty of yarns from this shop.

+ I finally finished reading this book. It’s cozy and wonderful and makes you hungry!!

+ This easy top pattern looks so comfy. This new trend of shirt that are longer in the back than the front is the greatest invention ever…

+ This painting and the artist. I dream of having one of her works hanging in my home.

Enjoy your week!

April Knits

Happy April! I do love this month. Though the warmer temps mean my handknits are being tucked away for the season, I can’t be anything but joyful in this season.

I’m settling into my new job much more now, and it brings me so much fulfillment. It’s the first time in my life I’ve had a job where I don’t dread going to work each day, and I know the work I’m doing matters. For the most part, the workday flies by and every day is different.

So onto the knitting! As you can see above, I’ve been working on my Mitered Crosses Blanket. I love these squares. Worsted weight on size 6 needles may be my favorite knitting ever. It’s fun to pick the colors. I knocked out a few more squares this week. I go on little kicks with these squares, a few at once and then I put it away for awhile. It’s so enjoyable every time I pick it up again.

I finished my husband’s socks ages ago. Toe-up and fish lips heel, using Dragonfly Fibers and they never, ever disappoint. This is the Golden Pear colorway, though it really is kind of neon!

He loves them. Lucky guy too because I don’t make size 0 needled socks for just anyone!

I started a sock for myself to have a quick, small project in my bag that is portable. I’m using some handspun from five years ago, back when I started spinning. It’s kinda bumpy and uneven but I love it. It brings me back to that time when I first got my wheel and all the excitement that came with it. I’m hoping to rekindle my passion for spinning this year but I’m just not in that place yet – hopefully soon!!

I hope you’ve all had a peaceful Easter and are enjoying the ease into spring!

Springtime Exploration

After a slight creative slump, I’m feeling like my old self. I’m going to attribute it to this: my Exploration Station, a Stephen West pattern. His patterns always stand out, don’t they?

I can tell you this is a totally enjoyable knit, and using the fun, wild colors just makes it better. It’s a Stephen West so you might as well go all out! Plus these bright and happy colors make think of Spring! I’m using 1) Gnomeacres in Mint Chocolate Chip 2) Malabrigo Sock in Light of Love (pink) 3) Colinette Jitterbug in Paintbox (the white with speckles) and 4) Ella Rae Lace Merino in 126 (gray). I’ve just finished the short row section and will be moving onto the Brioche next… not sure how that is going to go but I’ll let you know! I’ve never knit brioche before.

All the little yarn cakes fit perfectly in my SockSack. This is the medium size. It’s doing a good job of keeping everything untangled.

So you see the pink and mint in my shawl? Pink and mint is my new obsession. It has spilled into my fabric purchases as well. I bought fabric last week and I cannot WAIT to start sewing it into my Noodlehead Cargo Duffle.

I picked two prints from the Tokyo Train Ride collection produced by Cotton + Steel, who as a newbie to sewing can I saw WOW. Cotton + Steel fabrics are so up my alley. Very much my aesthetic. The white is from the Maker series by Art Gallery Fabrics, which I’m quickly finding is another favorite. The train print is 100% the loveliest fabric I’ve ever seen. I’ve never been so infatuated with a print. Hopefully I do it justice when I go to sew the bag – fingers crossed!

Gosh, so much to share… I also finished my Fluid. It is so cute in the Nomadic Yarns Glitterbomb. It doesn’t look the best on me (my hair is at a weird length right now for hats) but by the time I need it again it should be fine. Fluid was such a fun and rhythmic knit, I want to make many more.

I have some other projects to share, but I think that is enough for today!

Hopefully it’s starting to look and feel like Spring by you! The bradford pears have exploded overnight, and we’ve traded snow for rain showers and warm breezes. It’s lovely.