Tour de Fleece – Days 1 and 2

I’ve never done the Tour de Fleece before, but as with many spinning-related things, Jacie has inspired me.

You may recall that I bought a preposterous amount (2+ lbs) of raspberry-colored fiber from Spinner’s Hill at Rhinebeck last year.

148

This fiber will become my Rhinebeck sweater. I might as well spin it up now!

Day One was spent planning and organizing. I had some work to do before the giant balls of fiber were ready for spinning.

037

First, I had to get a sense of what, exactly, I am working with.

052

With the help of my assistant, the lovely and talented Fiona, I laid out the roving in five-foot sections.

046

I count 21 of them. I have over 100 feet of roving.

It’s not just the lighting, the fiber to the left is a lighter color than the fiber to the right.  Much the way I did with the fiber that became Shalom, I split the roving into type A and type B, with the goal of plying types A and B together (for a more consistent but marled yarn).  I have had issues drafting Spinner’s Hill Crazy Balls before, so split the roving into fairly small strips before getting started.

064

The types are more similar than they were for Shalom though. With the berry fiber, both types have more or less the same predominant color, but one has lighter areas and the other has darker areas.

070

On Day 2, I started spinning.

072

I’m using Penelope’s lowest ratio, aiming for a final weight between worsted and bulky. The drafting is indeed somewhat difficult, so realistically I’ll get a final product that varies from DK or worsted to bulky or thicker. Drafting issues aside, it’s going well so far!

Nothing to do but Pray

My friend K just learned, very late in her pregnancy, that her baby has a congenital brain abnormality which will likely cause serious difficulties. There is nothing I can do.

june 2012 012 - Copy

june 2012 011 - Copy

june 2012 009

Nothing I can do but pray, and try to turn that nervous energy into something tangible to remind K how loved she is.

Lucky #13

Why hello out there.  Happy New Year.  Yes, I’m still alive.

We moved into a new house in October, so there was a long while there where every bit of creative energy I had was spent on setting it up.  We’ve made good progress though, and I can turn to some knitting and spinning again.

Last weekend was my birthday (my first 29th birthday) so I treated myself to some nice relaxing spinning.  I chose a Gale’s Art 50/50 merino/silk blend, which I got at Rhinebeck 2010.  I had started it some months ago, and the bright, tropical colors were a perfect antidote to a very cold winter weekend.

Image

Before spinning it, I split it in half lengthwise, then split one half into many smaller strips.

Image

Then I settled in for my first quality time with Penelope since we moved.  Fiona was so cold that she tolerated some bouncing knees to snuggle.Image

As a result of how I split up the roving, of course, one bobbin had much shorter color repeats than the other.  I really like what that does to the finished yarn (as you’ll see soon).

Image

Despite not having spun since August, I’m delighted with how it turned out.  It’s the 13th yarn I’ve finished, so I guess it was lucky.

Image

ImageAs soon as the twist was set and the yarn was dry, I cast on for Baktus.

ImageImage

I love the way the finished yarn shifts from green-dominated to blue-dominated because of the long repeats on one of the bobbins.  It’s snowing again today, but I don’t mind.

Rhinebeck 2011

Rhinebeck 2011 was awesome and may have re-ignited knitting fever.  It made me realize that not only do I enjoy actually knitting, I enjoy what knitting and Rhinebeck mean.

170

Rhinebeck means:  Pride in your work.

There are the competitions, of course. I did not enter anything this year, but Jacie tore it up, as always.

139141

It goes far beyond the competitions. My favorite Rhinebeck tradition is the Rhinebeck Sweater (or shawl, or socks, or whatever).  What better place to debut an impressive finished object than with thousands of people who know what it means?  On Friday I packed two almost-finished objects, and I finished them both in our hotel room. Sunday I wore my Deep V Argyle Vest (which really deserves its own FO post later this week). More importantly, on Saturday I kept my vow and wore last year’s fiber.

Rhinebeck means: Tradition

Of course, Rhinebeck is about the traditions of fiber craft. I also love how groups and individuals form their own traditions. We began Saturday morning with breakfast at Pete’s Famous with Kris, as she and her crew have apparently been doing for years. Last year I declared my own tradition, that every time I go to Rhinebeck I will wear something made with fiber purchased the previous time.

148

That blue I bought in 2010, while I was wearing green that I bought in 2009. Keep a lookout for that berry color in 2012.

Rhinebeck means: Connecting

While I was wearing my 2011 Rhinebeck shrug, made from Spinners Hill fiber, I went to Spinners Hill to buy fiber for next year. I introduced myself to Lisa, the dyer, and told her that I would be back wearing her work next year.

147

In line for Sanguine Gryphon, Jenni talked to Stephen West. She ran into him again on Sunday, and showed him her Earth and Sky.

169

Rhinebeck means: Sharing

I spent most of the weekend with Jenni, Tracy, and Jacie. Jenni and Jacie were spinning, and Tracy was working with DPNs. Even at Rhinebeck, a shocking number of people stared, commented, and asked them about what they were doing. And they shared.

167

Rhinebeck means: Friends

I had an awesome time with Jenni, Tracy, Jacie and Lillian. I needed some gal time.

151

Rhinebeck means: Loot

172

I’m not done with the stuff I bought last year, so I tried not to go too nuts. I needed the fiber for next year, so I have two pounds of that berry stuff. I also bought two braids of Fiber Optic fiber, a 2 oz purpleheart Bosworth spindle for Navajo plying, and a penannular shawl pin. I’m very pleased.

I’m so glad I went.

Spin me like a hurricane

Fortunately, Hurricane Irene spared the Hartford area any major damage. It rained, and it was windy, but it was not that big a deal overall.

The forced indoor free time gave me time to finish my first handspun since my mom’s birthday in January.

029

The fiber was a Crazy Ball from Spinners’ Hill, which I bought at Rhinebeck last year. That’s the same fiber I used to make Shalom.

082

When I spun the yarn for Shalom, I was a brand new spinner. I thought drafting was so, so hard, and that I made amazing progress between that green yarn and my next couple spinning projects. But you know what? These Crazy Balls are difficult to draft. There were big chunks that were felted almost solid. Last time I thought that was normal, and now I know it’s not. As a result, the finished yarn is fairly uneven.

024

I still like it, and I intend to keep my vow to wear it to Rhinebeck this year. I ended up with about 380 yards of worsted to bulky

027

What should I make?

How Emilee got her groove back

I was in a mindless knitting rut for quite some time. After chickening out on the steeks for my Deep V Argyle Vest, I had been working on Imogen, Featherweight Cardigan, and Cecchetti, all dead simple miles-of-stockinette patterns. It was really boring.

February 017005

When I’m stressed out, I love that I can clear my head by focusing on knitting. My mistake was was working on projects that were too easy, so they didn’t take my mind off anything.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I might as well wind up Slither, my Rhinebeck ribbon yarn.

002

Within a couple minutes, I cast on for Bitterroot.

013

This has been exactly what I need to get back in the swing of things. I am very proud of Slither, and Bitterroot is a great pattern, so I can barely put it down.

023

It’s just involved enough that I have to watch what I’m doing, and have to clear my head. It’s not hard enough to be frustrating. Perfect!

Five Years

I started this blog five years ago.

For quite some time, I had planned for my fifth bloggiversary post to be a goodbye. I have not been blogging in awhile, obviously, and it seemed like a good idea to just close up shop. I started a new, intense job and I barely knit at all for months. I could not see myself getting back into it.

But then I realized something. I don’t have to be a “good” blogger. I don’t have to write long, witty post three times a week. I do have to keep knitting. Taking an hour out of my day to do something that makes me “me” can be more refreshing than that extra hour of sleep.

040

So. Here I am, back in action. Here’s to another five years.

Instant Gratification

Once again, I’m in a blog drought because of long-term secret or hard to photograph projects. The lack of any visible progress gets frustrating, so I decided to return to an old hobby (beading) and whip up a little something.

I went from this…

006

to this

010

to this…

081

…in under three hours. Instant gratification!

The purple beads are amethyst, from Sugarbeads in West Hartford Center. I used clear seed beads as spacers.

It’s about 54 inches long, so I can wear it wrapped twice…

078

or three times.

061

I’m very happy with it, and I think it’s totally work appropriate (which, sad to say, is true of almost none of my knitting). I see more beads in my future!

Kink

As you may have heard, Connecticut had a record-breaking snowfall yesterday.

January 005

January 026

It was the perfect opportunity to finish a little short-term project that I’ve been working on.

January 017

Pattern: Kink, Knittyspin First Fall 2010
Yarn: Handspun Singles, from Corgi Hill Farm Merino/Silk

January 084

It was really fun to knit, and I think it was a very good use of that yarn. I especially love that I FINALLY finished something, after spending so much time on as yet unfinished long term projects.

January 064

Yes, the singles are uneven, but the pattern works with the unevenness rather than against it.

January 057

It’s not exactly my usual style, but I can pull it off.

Happy Birthday Mom!

It’s my mom’s birthday, and she loves the color red.

honeycomb 002086IMG_3296aIMG_3298a

When I saw this fiber at Rhinebeck, I knew that it had to be hers someday…

spinning 007
Frabjous Fibers Silky Cashmerino (70% superfine merino, 15% cashmere, 15% mulberry silk) in Chocolate Cherry

…and now it will be.

January 006

I got about 290 yards of sportweight yarn, with fairly short color repeats. I split the roving the long way into eight or so segments and then did a two ply. The red was really bright on the bobbin, so I’m glad it mixed in nicely with the other colors and toned down a bit.

016

I haven’t been spinning all that much lately, but I think it still turned out well. I think the weight will be nice for a scarf or something.

January 030

My mom can knit, but seldom does (actually, I ruined knitting for her. That’s a story I should tell some day). I told her that she could use it herself if she wanted, or I could make something for her. Either way, I’ll post an update on what the yarn turns into.

January 010

Happy birthday Mom!