Thursday, May 30, 2019

Short Week, Big Stress

For a very short work week (Monday was a holiday and I'm taking tomorrow off), it's been a very crazy one. Yesterday morning I got out of bed and got ready to jump into the shower only to discover we had no water (they were flushing the hydrant at the end of our street; and thankfully they wrapped it up in time for me to get ready for the day). This morning my alarm either didn't go off or I slept through it, resulting in oversleeping by an hour. We did manage to get to school and work on time, but I had to take my coffee and breakfast to the office with me, and starting the day uncaffeinated is never a good idea. On top of all this, it's been crazy busy at work this week, plus we've had really unsettled weather, with strong storms and flash flooding. I of course could not have anticipated any of this when I requested tomorrow off, but I'm now very glad that I did.

As at all times of high stress, knitting has been a very calming activity for me. I've been working on the baby-sized Flax Light during my lunch breaks, and it is very quickly getting bigger. I split off the sleeve stitches yesterday and spent today's knitting time working on the body, which is just all knit in the round -- no thinking required.


The past couple of evenings have been spent multitasking: knitting while reading. I'm back to Rainbow's Little Boxy, which is perfect for working on while doing something else because, again, stockinette in the round.

"Mommy, is it done yet?"

Normally I'd be watching something on the TV in the evening while I knit, but this week it's been all about reading because I finally got Maybe You Should Talk to Someone from the library. I haven't been able to put it down since I started it, and since I've embraced reading ebooks, I've found that it's really easy to prop up my iPad next to me so I can read while I knit (though I'll admit I made a mistake it setting it up off to the side the other night, which gave me a bit of a sore neck). As if I weren't plowing through it fast enough because I'm enjoying it, my library app now very helpfully lets me know how many people are waiting for the book, so I'm hoping to have it finished and returned by tomorrow.

The reason for taking the day off tomorrow is that Rainbow, if you can believe it, is "graduating" from third grade and is done after a morning assembly. So we're planning a day of fun for just the girls. We're going to meet my sister-in-law for lunch and then getting haircuts. I expect we'll then spend the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying the fact that we get an early start to the weekend. After the past three days, I think I've earned it!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Tiny Tuesday Things

It is Tuesday, right? I love having a long weekend, but it does mess me up for the rest of the week. The really nice thing is that I have another long weekend coming up: Rainbow finishes school this Friday, and all she has that day is an assembly for the "graduation" of the fourth graders, so she'll be done at about 10 a.m. That was a good enough excuse for me to take the day off to spend it with her (and I'm sure there will be some extra crafting time involved as well)!

In addition to all the spinning this weekend, I did a fair amount of knitting as well. I went to see Dear Evan Hansen on Saturday afternoon, and knowing I would have all that theater knitting time, I made sure to get through the gusset decreases of my second ankle sock before then so that I wouldn't have to try to decrease in the dark. I got so much done during the performance that I actually stopped knitting toward the end because I was worried that I was going to overshoot the toe. I didn't, but I was close enough that I went to bed that night with a finished pair of shortie socks.


These were loosely based on the Rose City Rollers pattern, but really all I did was use the look of those socks and impose it on my normal plain vanilla sock recipe (68 stitches on a US 0/2.0 mm needle worked at a gauge of 9 stitches per inch). I had no fears of running out of yarn on the second sock, and that made for a much more relaxing knit. I was very pleasantly surprised at the end when I found that my striping sequence more or less matched up, and that was completely by accident. Because my yarn supply was limited, I didn't wind off any yarn at the beginning to try to start at a particular point in the sequence (which would make it easier to get the second sock to match), so it was pure luck. I don't care so much about my socks matching perfectly, but to be honest I was quite tickled by these stripes. (The yarn, in case you're wondering, is Fibernymph Dye Works Inversibles.)

These socks were my first finish for Stash Dash, which I'm competing in (against myself, of course) again this year. I'm using the event as extra motivation to use up stash, which I guess is kind of the point anyway.

Meanwhile, I cast on a new little project yesterday while sitting on the porch and enjoying the most perfect spring weather I think we've had yet this year. This is the very tiny start to a Flax Light for my nephew in Knit Picks Felici in the colorway Baker Street.


It's been a while since I've knit an actual baby sweater (this is a size 6-12 months), and it's so fun because of how quickly it goes! I started this yesterday afternoon while doing some reading, so it didn't have my full attention, and then knit about an hour or so in the evening after putting Rainbow to bed. Even with that short amount of time, I've already finished all the yoke increases, and today I should get to the split point for the sleeves and body. I'm really enjoying the pattern, too, and I have a feeling that I will likely knit Rainbow and/or myself one in the future.

I also found some time to do some reading over the weekend and completed my first square for Summer Book Bingo. Unfortunately it wasn't a very good book, at least in my opinion. I'd borrowed The Man in the High Castle through Prime Reading because I was hoping it would help me to understand the series, but I found it to be very different and even more confusing. I gave it one star in my Goodreads review. It seems the universe was looking out for me, though, because as I was closing in on the end of that book, I got a notice from the library that my next hold was available, and yesterday as I cast on the sweater I got started on Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. I'm less than 100 pages in and already enjoying it immensely!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Millefiori

This weekend has been exactly the kind of weekend I've been needing: long and relaxing. It's not over yet, of course, but Sunday afternoon is when I typically sit down and put together a post, and just because I have another day off tomorrow doesn't mean I can't stick to a schedule.

One of my main objectives this weekend was to finish up my current spinning project. I was able to leave work a little early on Friday afternoon, so I came home and had a bonus hour or so at my wheel. Then I spent more time at it on Friday evening and a bit yesterday morning, and last night I finally finished the singles. I spent several hours, on and off, at my wheel today (in between errands and chores around the house) chain-plying the entire bobbin of singles. The skein is still soaking in its bath, so I don't yet know the final yardage, but I'm quite pleased with it. Here are some photos, pre-bath:




As this was spun from 100% Polwarth, I'm expecting it to plump up a bit in the finishing; that's the famous Polwarth poof. I think it will still be fingering, but I also wouldn't be surprised if it poofs up to sport.

I'm not starting it just yet, but here is my next spinning project, which I alluded to last week. At the time I didn't want to show some of the fiber because I had sent half of it off to my swap partner and it hadn't yet arrived. It seems her package decided to take a slow tour of the Midwest on its way and ended up taking nearly a week to get to her in Oregon. But she did receive it, so now I can show you the entirety of the fiber that will be going into the next spin.


On the left is the fiber my partner sent to me -- Polwarth/silk in a Pacific Northwest-inspired colorway. On the right is what I had picked out to send to her, before my package arrived, mind you -- I guess we just have very similar tastes! My fiber is Targhee/silk/bamboo from Gwen Erin Natural Fibers. Because the colors coordinate so well, I'm going to combine them in one yarn. I'm still contemplating the exact way to do it, but I'm thinking I'll either spin each separately and then do an alternating chain ply (so you get a mock four-ply yarn in the end) or spin them separately, ply them together, and then ply the resulting yarn back on itself for a cable ply. Either way, I should get some really interesting texture, and I think it will be a very fun spin!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Miles (of Stockinette) to Go

We are almost to the long holiday weekend (it's Memorial Day here in the States on Monday, which means most schools and offices are closed), and I'm very much looking forward to it. My office is even closing early tomorrow afternoon, so I plan to squeeze in an extra hour or so of crafting.

I haven't shared a photo recently of Rainbow's Little Boxy, so here you are:


Though I spent some time trying to tweak this photo, I still haven't gotten the color right; it's more of a teal than a turquoise. It may be our duvet cover messing with the color or perhaps the early morning light in our bedroom. One day, I'll get it right. In any case, I've been making some decent progress on this lately. The progress marker shows where I was when I started knitting on Monday night. When I measured the body before putting the project away last night, it was measuring about 8.5 in. I need to get to 13.5 in. before I start working flat for the front and back, so I'm now more than halfway there.

I am alternating skeins as I always do with a hand-dyed yarn, but for the first time I'm trying what may or may not be helical knitting -- in other words, rather than twisting the strands as I switch from one to the other, I'm simply picking up the new strand and dropping the old one. I'm finding that I'm getting a little bit of a line from the resulting tension issues.


I'm hoping that the tension will even out with blocking and the line won't be as obvious. Has anyone had experience with this? Can you give me some tips or advice on how to minimize it?

The arrival of Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer as well as the start to Mary's Summer Book Bingo. I've watched some other bloggers participate in past years, but this year I've decided to take part myself. I already printed out my bingo card, and as you can see, I'm already planning to complete one square -- hopefully this weekend!


In addition to reading and crafting this weekend, I hope to spend a little bit of time going through my "want to read" list and seeing what I can match up with bingo squares.

Whatever you have planned for this weekend, I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Sock Yarn Extravaganza

I'm sure it will come as a surprise to no one that my favorite weight of yarn is fingering, especially if it's sock yarn. I know many people find it slow to knit with because it's so fine, but I find it immensely versatile -- you can use it to knit pretty much anything. And it definitely has good value, considering how much yardage you get per skein (usually anywhere from 400 to 500 yards per 100 g). Though I knit socks year-round, I find I knit a lot more with fingering during the warmer months. And it seems I'm knitting with nothing but fingering at the moment.

First up, there's the slouchy hat that I finished last Thursday night and modeled for Rainbow Friday morning (she took the photo, so you'll excuse the slight blurriness).


Pattern: improvised; brioche for the brim and stockinette for the rest
Yarn: Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce (80% superwash Merino/20% nylon) in Colorplay Collection #1 (self-striping), 58 g used
Needles: US 0 (2.0 mm) and US 2 (2.75 mm) Addi Sock Rockets, magic loop
Started/Completed: May 9/May 16

Using the Sockhead Slouch Hat as inspiration, I originally started this hat with a higher stitch count and had to rip it out and start over to make it smaller after knitting about an inch and realizing it would be much too big, even for a slouchy hat. This tells you just how much looser brioche stitch is than stockinette: Using US 0 needles and fingering weight yarn, I typically get about 9 stitches per inch in stockinette. Using the same needles and yarn but using brioche stitch, my gauge loosens up to about 7 stitches per inch. I don't own any needles smaller than a 0, so decreasing my total stitch count was the only option.

Once I'd gotten the right circumference, I knit brioche for two inches for the brim, then switched over to the larger needle and worked in stockinette until the hat measured about 10 inches. I did a fairly typical crown, with eight decreases every other round until just 8 stitches remained. Boom. Done. I still have to block the hat to get a tad more drape (in my experience, the fabric knit from this yarn gets soft and lovely the first time you wash it), but I'm quite satisfied with my new hat and predict it will get a ton of wear later this year.

I'm still working diligently on Rainbow's Little Boxy, using the same yarn base as my hat, but as it doesn't look all that different, I thought I'd hold off on taking a progress photo until it looks like I've made some significant progress. When I put it down last night, I had about 7 inches done on the body, and I believe I need to get to about 13.5 inches before I separate for front and back.

Finishing the hat meant I needed a new smaller project for my weekday lunch breaks, so I pulled out the leftovers from my sample for my Deco Lace Mitts and decided to try to squeeze out a pair of Rose City Rollers for me. I'm probably the last person on earth to knit this pattern -- better late than never, eh?


Technically I'm not exactly working from the pattern, as I'm knitting to a tighter gauge and using a stitch count between two sizes, plus I'm using my own stockinette sock recipe numbers for the heel and toe, but I guess it still counts? I did weigh the leftovers before I started (though of course neglected to write down what I had), and as one ball was slightly lighter than the other, I started with that one, figuring that if I could squeeze out a sock using the lighter ball I wouldn't have to worry about running out for the second sock. It's going to be close; the yarn in that ball is quickly getting used up, and I still have about an inch and a half of foot left to knit before I start the toe. I figure that if the worst case is that I don't have enough yarn to finish the entirety of the sock, I can always use some other scraps for the toe or even part of it. These are just for fun and just for me, and I couldn't care less about them being perfectly matching -- the yarn is already meant to be coordinating rather than matching, after all. I will say that knitting a shortie ankle sock is a ton of fun because it goes so fast, and Rainbow is already asking me for a pair of her own. So perhaps the leftover yarn from my hat will soon be some little person socks!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

All the Color

Spinning has been satisfying my color cravings this weekend. For one thing, my current project seems to have every shade in the rainbow.


I'm pretty sure I showed the fiber last weekend, but I don't think I'd gotten much of it spun at that point. I'm now a little more than halfway done with the singles. This is organic Australian Polwarth, my absolute favorite wool to spin, and I know that it will poof up when I wash it, so for now I'm spinning very fine singles (somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 wpi) with plans to chain-ply when all the fiber is spun. This fiber was the January shipment from the Southern Cross Fibre club, on which I have quite a backlog, so I'm extra happy to be spinning it.

It's also a good thing because April's shipment has shown up this weekend, and it's a stunner.


The colorway is called Posy, and it's on lovely Bond wool, another one of my favorites. Someone in the SCF Ravelry group said that it reminded her of a sunset, so she split up her fiber to make a gradient. And I'm going to shamelessly copy her. The gradient will go from that beautiful rusty orange to the magenta to the purples. I think it's going to be stunning.

I'd be tempted to get it on the wheel next were it not for a little swap thing I'm participating in through the 90% Knitting podcast. The idea is to find 4 oz. of fiber in your stash, split it in half, and send half of it to another spinner, who would do the name in their stash. The two swap partners then have 2 oz. each of two colorways and can spin them up however they like. All the participants will then be sharing photos of how they spin the yarn. I received fiber from my partner on Friday, and it's quite gorgeous:


It's Polwarth/silk, dyed in colors that reminded my partner of where she's from in Oregon. She also included a couple of extra treats: a spinner's journal (not shown) and this adorable stitch marker with the state of Oregon on it. It's made of reclaimed copper, or so the back of the packaging says:


Pretty cool, huh? I sent her package this weekend, and just in case she happens to stop by, I won't post a photo, but I will say that the colorways we both chose should go very well together. I'm fairly certain that even though I wanted to get to the purple prize fiber next, this project is actually going to jump ahead of it because I have a fun idea for how I want to spin the two colorways.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Closing

I'm closing in two senses of the word today. First, I can mark the closing of one project, my new shawl design, which has now been blocked and had its ends trimmed, marking it officially done.


I know it looks a bit wonky here, but that's mainly due to my haste in snapping the photo this morning. I might still hit it with a shot of steam here and there before we shoot the pattern photos, but this is pretty close to the final product. I'm very happy with how it turned out and with how it blocked. Freshly off the needles, it was smaller than I expected, but wool does stretch very nicely. This still isn't a huge shawl, but post-blocking it's big enough to sit comfortably on the shoulders. Finishing up the pattern and getting it off to my tech editor is on my to-do list for the weekend.

The other closing that's happening is that I've started the crown decreases on my slouchy hat.


I worked in stockinette until the hat measured 10 in., which I think should give me sufficient slouch. To be honest, I'm a little sad that I'm almost done because this has been such an enjoyable knit. The colors are really lovely, and it's been something that's been easy to pick up and put down -- unlike Rainbow's Little Boxy, which, although also all stockinette in the round, involves alternating skeins and is thus not nearly as portable.

I'll soon be casting on another travel/work project, as I anticipate finishing this hat later today, but it remains to be seen how much will get done before the weekend. Tomorrow is a big day at work, as quite a few of us will moving offices. This is all part of a big reorganization plan to group people who work on teams more logically in physical locations; at the moment, people are kind of all over the place, as they've been put in offices that are empty as they've started working. It's not a big office space in general, but having been in my space for about a decade, it's meant quite a lot of clearing out and packing up. I'm glad that there's very little on the calendar this weekend so that I can finally get a relaxing couple of days in a row. I'm also keeping my fingers crossed that the weather cooperates and I'll have time to plant the flowers I picked up last weekend!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A View from the Weekend

Why is it that the weekends always fly by? This past one was no exception, likely because we had several things planned and not a ton of downtime.

On Saturday, as a special treat, I took Rainbow and my mother to see the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre perform Sleeping Beauty. The story was always my favorite Disney movie as a kid, and I'd never seen the ballet version, so it was something special for all of us. I knew I needed a new simple project to take with me (I don't know about you, but I can't sit still for two to three hours), so last Thursday I cast on for a new slouchy hat for me. It'll be similar to a Sockhead Hat, but I'm not really following the pattern at all -- just using the style as an inspiration. I did brioche for the brim for a change from the usual ribbing. Here's what it looks like as of this morning (my apologies for the dim lighting -- it's been a gloomy few days here):


The yarn is my go-to fingering, Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce, in a colorway called Colorplay Collection #1. A couple of months ago, Lisa created a series of yarns in a set of colors; this skein was the self-striping version. I don't anticipate using all of the skein, so I should have some leftovers to play with when the hat is done.

My main knitting goal for the weekend was to finish the shawl sample I showed you last week. The applied reverse stockinette I-cord edging took me parts of two days, but I did finish, and last night while Rainbow was in the shower, I blocked it.


Fresh off the needles, it was a bit small and curled up, as you might imagine, but blocking worked wonders as it so often does. I didn't have a chance to check on it this morning, but I'm hopeful it'll be dry by the time I get home tonight and I can do some final measurements. I ended up playing a bit of yarn chicken with the gray and finished with just a tiny ball of yarn remaining. I've still got about two-thirds of the red leftover, and it's so soft and squishy (Cormo lambswool, hello!) that I might use it for a pair of mitts or something for me.

Now that the shawl is off the needles, my evening knitting is once again Rainbow's Little Boxy. It's going to be a long haul of knitting for sure, but at least it's mindless enough that I can read or watch something involving on the TV while I knit. I'm packing up my office this week in preparation to move to a different space on Friday, so it will likely be the perfect thing after some long days.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Spring Spun

This past Friday evenings I sat at my wheel, as I normally do on Fridays. Having finished my singles earlier in the week, I was ready to ply and see how the finished yarn would look. I managed to get through the entire bobbin before bedtime, so I while I was excited to be done, I knew that it likely meant low yardage. I wound up the skein Saturday morning and gave it its bath, and by this morning it was dry.

Thanks to my sister-in-law, I'm now the proud owner of an Instagram Succulent.

I have mixed feelings about this skein. I'm very pleased with how it turned out, but at only about 242 yards, it's much less yardage than I was hoping for from a fingering-weight skein. The fiber was Corriedale from Southern Cross Fibre in the colorway Spring. While I can see the colors of crocus blooms in the yarn, it also looks a little bit like a mashup of Halloween and Mardi Gras colors.


I have some undyed dark brown Corriedale in my stash and think I will spin up a smaller contrast skein to go with it.

On my wheel now is some more Southern Cross, this time Polwarth in a gorgeous colorway called Millefiori:


I've split the fiber in half lengthwise and am once again spinning end to end, and I'll chain ply when I'm done with the singles. And I already know what's going on the wheel after this spin is done:


I may not be buying any new fiber, but surely winning some in a giveaway doesn't count toward the prohibition? Sherrill posted this fiber on Instagram, and as I never win contests, I figured there was no harm in entering. So you can imagine my surprise when I did win! This is a Targhee/bamboo/silk braid in a colorway called Lilac Girls after the book of the same name (a book I read while we were in Florida most recently). I'll either split the braid in half lengthwise and spin a two ply, attempting to match up the color as much as possible, or spin it fine end to end and chain ply.

Friday, May 10, 2019

A Bonus (or Two)

I normally don't post on Fridays, but this week I've got a little surprise, and it seems fitting to share it going into Mother's Day weekend.

A number of months ago, I was approached by the folks at KnitCrate about collaborating with them. They asked me to design two patterns using their house Knitologie Cozy Sock, a merino/cashmere/nylon blend. These projects obviously had to stay secret until they were revealed to subscribers, and that big reveal came this week. And now I can share them to you, because they're now available to everyone through my Ravelry store!


My Jounce Cowl is one of those one-skein wonders that are the perfect use for that special skein of fingering weight yarn that's maybe a bit too precious for socks. It uses an all-over texture stitch that's sort of a mashup of basic brioche stitch and 1x1 rib. It's simple to do and quick to memorize, and while using fingering weight yarn creates a light accessory that's just as good as a fashion item as one for warmth, you could use any weight of yarn and can easily adapt it to be closer fitting or significantly longer if you'd prefer to wrap it twice. I'm planning to make myself one using some special handspun!


My Squeezed Citrus socks are likewise textured all over, using twisted stitches and knit/purl combinations. They're worked from the cuff down and incorporate a heel flap and gusset and wedge toe. They're graded to three sizes -- adult small, medium, and large -- and have both written and charted instructions for the stitch pattern.

You can find more details on these patterns on Ravelry by clicking on the links. I hope you like them!

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Tri-Kitty

Not nearly as much knitting got done while I was away as I would have liked, but I did make some progress and added to it during my lunch breaks this week. After about three failed attempts, I finally managed to figure out the crown decreases for Rainbow's brioche hat, and I finished it up last night right after I put her to bed.


Pattern: two-color brioche with an improvised crown
Yarn: Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce (80% superwash merino, 20% nylon) mini skeins, 54 g/216 yds. used
Needles: 40 in. US 1 (2.25 mm) Addi Sock Rockets, magic loop
Started/Completed: April 29/May 8

As brioche projects go, this one was pretty simple. For most of the hat, I simply did the basic two-color stitch pattern, switching to a new mini skein for each strand when the previous one ran out (in the interest of science, I use a Russian join for one transition and a braided join for the other). The complicated part came when I was ready to do the crown. The problem with brioche is that you can only do decreases that reduce your stitch count by an even number of stitches (2, 4, etc.) in order to maintain the pattern. This makes it difficult to get a smooth dome-like shape for the crown. First I tried to do either k3tog or sssk decreases in four evenly spaced points, but it wasn't possible to do with my stitch count. So I settled for what you see here: three lines of 5-into-1 decreases. It made for a much shallower crown, but it's a cool effect, and Rainbow is quite pleased with it, as you can see:


She thinks it looks like kitty ears (with a bonus point in back). I suggested she think of it as a "tricera-kitty" hat, but she told me I was being ridiculous; similarly, my suggestion to put little pompoms on the points was quickly rejected. I will block it this weekend and try to stretch out a bit more length if I can, but I think the fact that she wore it to school today, when it was already in the upper 60s F when we left the house, is indication enough that she's completely happy with it.

I did get a little bit done on her Little Boxy on the drive down to Maryland, so I've now got about two to three inches of body on the needles. I haven't touched it since, but I expect it will soon be in regular rotation.


For the moment, my main focus is going to be finishing up this design sample, because I'd like to release it next month and need to allow time to write up the pattern and have it tech edited.


I know it's hard to see all bunched up on the needle, and I think you can tell why I'm so eager to finish -- I really want to block it and see how it looks all spread out and opened up! My plan is to knit until I'm about out of the gray, and that ball is quickly getting smaller. I expect I'll be able to get in one more stripe of the red before that happens. I'm still debating whether to add a garter border in the red or not; either way, there will be an applied I-cord edging in the red to finish it off. I might have to run a lifeline through the stitches and take it off the needles to get a sense of the true size before I decide (though opinions are certainly welcome).

The weekend is shaping up to be a good mix of activity and relaxation. On Saturday afternoon, I'm taking my mother and Rainbow to see the ballet perform Sleeping Beauty, and then we've got a Mother's Day brunch planned with the family. There are the usual errands and chores, but I'm really looking forward to sleeping in and staying home after last weekend's exhausting adventures. Whatever your weekend brings you, I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

MDSW 2019: Of Puppies and Mud

I'm back! Chances are you didn't miss me at all thanks to the wonder that is scheduling a blog post ahead of time. But I've had quite a bit of catching up to do on e-mail and blog reading after being away and largely offline for about four days, not to mention that I was desperate for a long hot shower and a good night's sleep in my own bed.

All in all, it was a fun but busy weekend. I left at about 6:30 Friday morning, making a quick stop at Bruegger's for a bagel and coffee for the road, and was at the farm by about 7:30. We got on the road shortly before 8. This was my first trip to MDSW with Amy and Scooter Pie after doing the last two Rhinebeck trips with them, and on this trip we had two new companions:


This is not the best photo of them, but with puppies, it's hard to get them to sit still long enough for a photo. These are Amy's newest puppies, Bo (short for Boudin) and Whiskey (full name: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot). Amy likes to say that Bo is her emotional support animal and Whiskey is Bo's emotional support animal. While Whiskey is full Pembroke Corgi, Bo's Corgi mother apparently had a liaison with a French Bulldog. They're both pretty darned adorable, and they were my sleeping buddies in the camper (their crate was right next to my bed, so I woke up each day to the two of them staring at me). They didn't come with us to the festival, but it was fun to see them at the end of each day (as you can imagine, after a day of sitting in their crate while we were gone, they had a lot of energy to burn off when we let them out).

The festival itself was a lot of fun and very busy. Saturday ended up being just about perfect, weather-wise. It was overcast and not too warm most of the day, with a nice breeze, and the sun popped out briefly a number of times. Sunday was the exact opposite: It rained all day long. We were in the Lower Coral in a tent, and frankly the entire area was a giant mud puddle. I was thankful that I'd had the foresight to bring my rain boots, because I really needed them and would have destroyed my sneakers had I worn them. I was also thankful that Scooter Pie had laid a temporary plywood floor in the booth (really done for the ease of wheeling out their display cases, but it helped with the mud, too!).

The highlight of the festival for me was this:


For the first time this year I was able to enter one of my handspun skeins into the skein and garment competition in person (you may recall that last year I entered two skeins and had to mail them in, and someone switched the tags on them, leading to poor scores). I knew this was one of my better skeins and hoped it would do well, and I'm absolutely delighted to have received a third-place ribbon!

Because the booth was so busy, I didn't get a ton of time to go out and shop -- and that was just fine, considering my strict yarn and fiber diet -- but I did sneak out to pick up a couple of little gifts for Rainbow, who was a little weepy when I had to leave on Friday morning.


I specifically wanted to stop by the WeeOnes booth to see if she had any Westie stitch markers, and I was in luck! I hadn't planned on also picking up a project bag, but when I saw this one, I couldn't resist buying it for my sloth-obsessed daughter.

Amy and I took a stroll through the Main Exhibition Hall on Sunday morning, when business was slow, and I decided to treat myself with a new tool (it's not yarn and fiber, so it's okay!).


This is a lucet from Stephen Willette in beautiful Bubinga wood. I've never used one before, but he gave me a quick lesson in the booth and I was sent home with an instruction booklet, so I'm all set to give it a try. It's actually much easier than I would have thought, and it will be another good way to use up some stash yarn, particularly some handspun that is perhaps too scratchy to knit with but would be good for a rug or a hot pad.

Though I was mighty tempted by a lot of beautiful yarn and fiber at the festival, I didn't buy any -- but that's not to say that I came home empty handed.


This lovely pile is my favorite yarn from the farm, Shetland 3-ply sport, which Amy generously gave me for a new sweater design that I have planned for later this year (if all goes according to plan, it will make its debut at Rhinebeck). It's been years since my first sweater design, and I think I am now ready to tackle a stranded colorwork yoke pullover. I'll be using Marigold, the lighter color, as the main color and Lindy, that gorgeous chocolate brown, for the contrast in the yoke. I still have some reading and swatching and number crunching to do, but my hope is to have this in the works by the summer.

Everything is now back to the normal schedule for me, and this week I'm working on finishing up a couple of projects at home and packing up my office for a move next week at work. Though it wasn't a relaxing weekend away in any sense, it was a lot of fun and a great opportunity to see some friends from far away. Now let the countdown to Rhinebeck begin!

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Still Spinning

While you read this, I'm away at Maryland Sheep and Wool, hopefully not getting completely soaked. I did not take any spinning with me, but I did get a little bit done during the past week, albeit not as much as I would have hoped.


That fiber draped over the wheel is all that's left of the third ball, so I'm nearly 75% done with these singles. With any luck, I'll get some time in at the wheel when I'm back after the busy weekend to finish them up!

Thursday, May 02, 2019

In Prep Mode

I will be leaving bright and early (actually, probably before the sun is fully up) tomorrow for Maryland Sheep and Wool. For the first time, I'll be going to work rather than shop, which should be a nice change. My plans to go with friends never really fell into place, so when Amy of the Ross Farm said they could use my help in the booth, I jumped at the chance.

Despite the fact that I have to leave very early tomorrow (Amy wants to get on the road by 8, and I've got about an hour-long drive to get down to the farm), I've done no real prep for the trip other than think about it. I've checked the forecast throughout the week and it looks like it'll be wet and warm, so I'm definitely taking my wellies and some extra shoes, but I haven't started packing at all. True to form, though, I've already planned out what knitting I'm taking.


I figured the trip would be a good excuse to get a fair amount done on my two current WIPs for Rainbow, the brioche hat (pictured above) and her Little Boxy (which has gotten only one round knit on it since the last time you saw it). I also my take my current design WIP, which really needs to get finished soon. That should be plenty, considering the drive down isn't nearly as long as the drive to Rhinebeck.

Tonight I've got to pack, wind the rest of the minis for the hat so I don't have to do it by hand, and get shopping lists and schedules all set for my husband for while I'm away. If you will be at the festival this weekend, come by the booth and say hi!