Checking in and Casting on..

So I have been quietly plugging along on my my Shetland projects. I cast off the  pair of  fingerless mitts I had been working on by Kate Davies to cast on the next project the Bracken Mitts, it is something that wasn’t on my list for this trip but has been in my queue for while has not made it on my needles until now. I can’t believe  how fast these knit up. I finished the 1st mitt only to procrastinate on the second one  since I cast on a new project and have another one lined up after that.  I have a debated with one of my friends about casting on multiple objects.. I don’t particularly enjoy a bunch of WIPS because I don’t like seeing unfinished projects on my Ravelry page. I really can’t over emphasis how much I don’t like it. I made the mistake of watching the news and I needed a mindless knit to help reduce the stress, so I cast on  a cowl made in cashmere. I mean what is more soothing than stockinette knit in cashmere. I think I would have to scratch my head on what could top it.

Beat the Clock

I bought the book this weekend and have been glancing through it when I am not knitting.

Every year knitters head to Rhinebeck, New York to attend the New York Sheep and Wool Festival . It has been a tradition that on an annual basis that a few months before the event in October they knit a sweater so that they can wear it with pride at the festival.

Well I am not going to Rhinebeck this year so I decided to put my own twist on destination knitting and create a new challenge for my trip to Scotland( the sweater challenge is just not going to happen). So I decided to put my own twist on destination knitting and give myself a new challenge.  I am going to give it my all to knit a pattern from some Scottish designers I might be meeting or have patterns in my queue. I think I have about 5 set up in my queue currently and I plan on bringing my Saudade by Ysolda Teague because I love it so much. I plan on taking photos of the knitwear in Scotland with the aim of using its scenery as a backdrop for my photographs.

So here are the patterns currently making the cut for the trip:

  1. The Tortoise and the Hare Gauntlets by Kate Davies
  2. The Good Years Hat by Donna Smith
  3. The Flora Mitts by Ella Gordon
  4. Possible others include Scallafield by Hazel Tindal, Neep Heid by Kate Davies, or Bousta Beanie by Gudrun Johnnson

Summer is here..

 

I had the change to get to explore parts of  Seattle this past weekend and wow, summer is everywhere.  It was fun to check out Pike Place market because as a local it is not a  “go to” spot especially when the cruise boats are in docked in Elliot Bay.

I hope I get out more often to enjoy the scenes and really absorb all the wonderful things about summer… it is also a reminder that my favorite season is just around the corner.

It is usually in reverse..

Cashmere Merino Nylon handed by Wound Up Fiber Arts in a 2 ply fingering/heavy sport

Normally we buy bins to have to contain the excess stash…. Or enclose the items that we have “added to cart”  so it is noteworthy when things go the other way and space is being made in the bins.

In the last 2 weeks I have pulled 16 ounces(4 bags) from my plastic bins to spin up, its is not a ton of fiber but it is making space. A tiny fact I didn’t consider when I started spinning  was how much more space fiber takes than yarn. I I can’t emphasis how much more cubic space it takes. There are challenges that people have called “Spin the bin” which measures the project by freeing up space. I myself have not participated in any of these challenges but this month for Tour de Fleece I am going to attempt to make a big dent in the fiber stash. To be b=honest I am not sure I can keep ups this pace but I need to try…. The ugly truth is that since I belong to a fiber club that I have 8 ounces of fiber coming in to my house every month so if I don’t spin more than that and I am buying my stash is accumulating at a steady rate.

So I have done some math I figure if I get 28 ounces of fiber spun up that will 12 bags of fiber which is a little more than a bin of space that I will get back and buy myself about 3 months of stash reduction, or at least delude myself for 3 months thinking that I don’t need to buy a bin.

Stash Management

On the topic of “stash management” it is not going great, but its not going horrible either…

I am reaching the home stretch on the sweater and it looks like I will be under by a little more than one skein…. I finished the 1st sleeve…  while  I am happy with it but want to waive in the ends and fix some part of the sweater before I move on to the next part. I think most people would want to finish the knitting portion, but I know myself and if I go straight to the knitting, I will procrastinate forever.. so since I am no longer in a race to the finish ( I missed the KAL deadline)  I can take my time….. although  this approach will slow down the effort to “stash bust” if I leave this as a work in progress.

So here goes nothing. There will be a major effort to make a dent in my stash courtesy of Tour De Fleece the annual spinning event that takes place along the Tour de France. I am five days in and I have to say things are really moving:

I plied a little more than 2.5 ounces SW merino.


I spun up the remaining 2 ounces of the Merino Cashmere Nylon.


I have spun up 6 ounces of SW merino

I don’t really have a goal other to get as much of it out of the bins as possible. So It will be interesting to see what happens.

My Favorite Things

In my younger days I used to watch “Oprah’s Favorite Things” It was so good! Every year that she shared the stuff that she loved I instantly googled the item that  she put up.  The absence of this on network television left a void. Oprah’s  show was the shiz-nit, so in the spirit of paying homage I put my favorite things for Summer:

 

O-M- G Danielle Pederson’s ceramic art is amazing and it the perfect balence between whimsical  and tasteful.  The prices range may be more than just a normal tchotchke  but in my onion its totally worth it. Each piece she makes is a piece of art. She makes freestanding pieces  as well as these pendents.

My spirit animal as a pendent and a seahorse

So while I haven’t seen every product on the market I am positively in love with TUFT Woolens Hand and Body Balm. So many great things to say about it, it comes in one size which is smaller than other products I have seen, but it is kind of genius because it makes it very portable to toss in a project bag and with the plastic container light so it doesn’t weigh your bag down. The added bonus of the product being designed with a knob to push up the product and make it accessible makes it easy to only put as much on your fingers as you need easily. Lastly, and best of all the product is not creasy, its easy to use a little goes a long way and it is not sticky and has not seemed to rub off on my knitting when I have used it.

I tried a couple of scents but I think Honeycomb is my favorite

Next up is The Plucky Knitter’s  yarn base called “Sweater”  after a brief retirement it has been brought back and I am really happy about it. It has a extremely tithe twist and is a “workhorse” of a yarn it is one of her more economically priced yarns and has good yardage.  It is a merino nylon blend which while is out of my “cashmere blend” wheelhouse is a fantastic yarn for  everyday knitting, has fantastic stitch definition and takes a cable really well.

I love me some grey yarn…. especially in the Plucky Knitter’s Sweater base

 

Lastly, anything by Emily Fodon of Viola yarns. She is a genius at small batch hand dying. Everything is small batch and it is hard to get  but this speckles semisolid indy dyed yarn just makes me smile.

Watching a kettle…

 

 

8 more inches of knitting on the body of their sweater

I think there is an expression somewhere that talks about how water won’t boil if you are watching it. It is a universal truth that when knitting somewhere from 5 to 10 inches that you over measure. You pull out the tape measure from your bag (everytime you think you have made a big dent towards your goal you measure) and notice that at most you have added another 1/2 inch to your project.

There is a heavy exhale with “That can’t be right it seems like more” you knit a little more put the project on timeout ad repeat the process a little bit later. I estimated this week that I did  about 2 inches towards my goal on the skirt of my new sweater. I estimate that I am overdue to measure my progress in another 15 minute 😉

Wound up:)

Cash Silk by Viola in the Seastorm colorway

 

I am slowly but surely working my way through the yarn for my Woodfords. It feels so great get to the point when you finish a skein and must wind another the next one. I am alternating skeins which I highly recommend when using this yarn and I am really enjoying the results.

Equivilants

 

 

 

My Woodfords

The last couple of days I have been musing on my sweater and if it is ever going to be finished. I really seem to embrace the concept of  the “glass half full” when I am knitting a sweater. I am about as pessimistic as one can get when I knit one. I am not complaining about complaining but I have just come to realize it as the “natural” state when I am working on a sweater project.

The other day I realized I had roughly used up 3 of the 13 skeins of yarn I have for my Woodfords  that is less than the 30% complete… I think the expression a “Oh crap!” went through my head.

In the meantime while I have been SLOWLY knitting along I have also been buying craploads of yarn.. maybe from stress? Well anyways I digress the real lightbulb moment was when I realized that buying sweater quantities of yarn that you likely are not going to get a chance to knit anytime soon is the knitting equivalent to keeping your small size “goal” jeans around the house that you can’t fit in to. There is no logic in buying the yarn.. just like it is unlikely that one isn’t going to fit in to the jeans that are 2-3 sizes to small but are still in the closet… but is sure is fun to imaging the possibilities:)

 

 

Squirrel and Stash

 

Well, I finally pulled he trigger and launched my handgun hope on Etsy. It has been a long time in the making. I have really debated whether I do it or give my surplus of handspun to friends. There are so many elements of having this as a business that make me step out of my comfortzone: having to put oneself out there, pricing one’s work, opening myself and my hand spinning to feedback, and interfacing with customers.

While I spin yarn for pleasure I really considered all of the angles to pricing and consulted several people that I knew in the industry. The honest truth is that there are so many more variables with hand spinning an using “raw” fiber than other making activities. While it is easy to look at the time aspect there are other things such as the amount of dealing with the same amount of raw materials products that are of a different yardage and weight of yarn.

I have thought about certain aspects I am sure there are unexpected elements that I will encounter. 
I think of this new venture as a growing exercise and am looking towards it with a great sense of curiosity.