The weather turned cold (as in sleet in October cold) a few weeks ago so I moved my knitting and spinning stuff back upstairs to my loft. Truth be told, my winter spot is my favorite because its just so cozy. Since I’ve posted about the loft before, I’m just going to show you the new items and what’s changed.
When my family decided to sell my grandparent’s house over the summer, I picked up some furniture. Some sentimental, some function and some both. One of the pieces was a cedar chest. It was rather un-cedar-y so I rubbed down the interior with cedar oil (pro tip – use less than you think you need). Right now I’m storing various yarn in there in the beige cloth bags (to protect from the cedar oil transferring) and projects and bags in the cloth bins. I may change that around in the future.
My new Larry the Sheeple from ErinLaneBags. She now sells many sheeple prints – I still want to get the Doctor Who set.
Last but not least I did some re-organizing of my bookshelf. I move a lot of the books over to the cube organizers so I’d have a couple free shelves. I have my eSpinner and tools/current fiber (in the green basket) on the top shelf and my wedge bags on the second shelf. I have hooks for many bags but the wedge bags don’t have a great way to hang (hanging by the lanyards puts too much stress on the zipper pull).
Thank you for joining me on a quick tour of my loft! I’m so looking forward to spending the winter upstairs!
It’s been a couple years since I’ve been to this show and its grown even more! The Wool Gathering is near Yellow Springs, Ohio and is held in middle September of each year. The show runs Saturday and Sunday and there are no classes due to space limitations. It is on the grounds of a dairy farm and vendors are set up under tents. WARNING: Picture heavy post.
I went with several friends and we got there right about the time it opened on Sunday at 10am. By noon it was crowded and hot (hot being almost 90 degrees in mid-September). We shopped, ate, then shopped some more. I had a couple items I was on the hunt for but otherwise wanted to spend time looking at yarns from vendors I hadn’t seen in a while.
The non-fibery stuff:
- Chocolate Cherry Lip Balm from Ballyhoo Fiber Emporium. This stuff is like dessert for your lips, minus any calories. Goes on smooth. Go check out her website for some amazing photography and cool products.
- For Feet Sake by BarMaids in the Peppermint Plus scent – This stuff is amazing for your feet, especially if your dry feet tear up your knee high hose (yes, I wear knee high hose with my dress shoes). I like that you apply it like a stick of deodorant, leaving your hands mess free.
- Lotion from Amazing Grace Farms – I love this stuff. It is by far my favorite lotion. No dyes and its very hypoallergenic. The proceeds go to support her animal rescue, which makes it all the better. Please check out her website and consider ordering. The peppermint and lavender are my two favorites. I bought one bottle of apple cider and have two more bottles of the peppermint cream coming to me via mail.
- Pattern for Rookwood by Mindy Wilkes. Ravelry pattern page is here.
One of my favorite vendors (of many favorites) at the show was Destination Yarns. I met the owner, Jeanne, at Stitches Midwest the first year I went and love her saturated dyeing. She also uses the most scrumptious yarn bases.
- (left side) Suitcase base (a worsted weight merino yarn that I swear feels like it cashmere in it) in the colorway Underneath the Christmas Tree
- (top) One skein each of her Note base in the Miracle and Stormy Skies colorways. This is aiming to be a two-color shawl such as Quicksilver or Blackbird.
- (right) A mini-skein set on the Postcard base in fall colors. It’s a merino yarn and each mini (there are eight) has 92 yards. This, and a solid, will become the Take It All shawl.
- You might also notice I got a couple bags, including a Game of Thrones themed drawstring and a Destination Yarn tote. I’ll just keep telling myself one can never have too many bags.
Long-time favorite dyer – Kimber Baldwin of Fiber Optic Yarns. She was really one of the first doing gradient yarns (as mini-skein sets) and I used to see her every year at The Fiber Event in Greencastle. She has a background in chemistry and has a very good eye for color.
- (upper left) Two skeins of her Kashmir yarn (merino/cashmere/nylon base) in Citron and Wicked Good. This bright of colors is wayyy outside of my norm, which was my goal. This is likely to become either the Cypri shawl or the Fallston shawl.
- (lower right) A mini-skein set on the Footnotes base in the colorway Fire and Ice and a full skein of Footnotes in the colorway Ft. Knox. I tried matching the mini-skein set with a gray but could not find a combo that made my heart sing. The gold one did though. This is for the On the Spice Market shawl.
A new to me dyer – Ewetopia, out of Wisconsin. The yarn base is called Pashm and is merino/cashmere/nylon and the colorway is Country Fair. Given the cashmere content this will become fingerless mitts.
A second new to me dyer – Betwitched Pigments. I’m a sucker for tonals and her’s have a lot of depth. I actually got an aran weight yarn (I know, not my norm) in the colorway Surprise! These are pretty springy and soft so I’m hoping they will make good legwarmers.
Last one, I promise. A third new to me dyer – The Fibre Art Studio at Yarns to Dye For. This was the last yarn I bought, even though I had been looking for a bright rainbow gradient with over 500 yards of yardage. The base is Fifty Shades of Gradient (funny pun) in the United colorway. This and some black will become my Lambton Panes shawl which I’ve been lusting over since Sarah of Yarn Geek Fibers finished hers.
Second fiber festival of the year is in the books! I spent most of my time teaching, a little socializing, and a little shopping. I was slowed down, just a bit, by my broken foot and made an effort to keep it elevated as much as possible.
I had three wonderful classes with some smart and fantastic (and returning!) students. Unfortunately, I was so focused on the classes I didn’t take any pictures. So here’s a sheep from the day.
On Friday I taught Beaded Wire Bracelet and DIY Stitchmarkers and on Saturday I taught Cables 101. One of my Cables class students from April took the Beaded Wire Bracelet class and I got to see two cabled handbands (a pattern exclusive to the Cables 101 class) she made. Saturday morning I got to Franklin early so I picked up my mini-rug hooking kit and sat at the edge of a friend’s booth working on that.
Of course, I did a little shopping. Yarny goodness:
- (Upper left) This actually just came – I loved the colorway but requested it on a different base (superwash merino rather than a merino bamboo mix) and they dyed it up this week. It is a “shawl ball” from Brenda and Heather Yarns (aka BAH Yarns), a local dyer. This is 645 yards of fingering weight in a single gradient colorway called Sunset.
- (Upper right) Yet another large gradient, this time Arial Evolution (100% merino) from Twisted Fiber Art. This is a new to me dyer so I’m excited to start on this soon. Colorway is Downten.
- (Lower left) This was a dyer I specifically wanted to buy something from this year as I’ve never tried her yarns. This is sportweight 100% merino (superwash) in the Plum Drum Weekend colorway from Oink Pigments. It’s actually not the softest merino but it feels like a very sturdy merino that won’t fuzz or felt so I’m planning to use it for socks.
- (Lower right) Another yarn from Brenda and Heather Yarns but this is a self striping DK yarn. I love self-striping for socks but given I’m a crazy slow sock knitter, DK weight yarn is perfect for me. Colorway is Sunshine on a Cloudy Day (or as I call it, Grellow).
First fiber festival of the year is in the books, as well as a three new classes!
I taught three classes, all new. Of the three, I think the knitted wire bracelet with beads was my favorite. Both students finished their bracelets in class.
I also taught a class on making stitch markers and another on beginner cables. It is so fun to teach something that results in an items the students can take home. The same classes will be offered June 2 and 3 at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival. Class fee is $40 if you sign up by May 15th and you can see class descriptions here.
After the classes on Friday I went to dinner with some friends where hijinx ensued. One friend had dropped a skein while winding it (sans skeinwinder) and a mess bloomed. While we waited for our meal we tried to help her untangle across the table. No beverages were harmed in the process.
Since I taught all day Friday and then Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon was my first chance to *really* get shopping. Made some purchases from some long-time favorites, and some new.
The Yarn and Fiber:
Working left to right (then the bottom)
- The green yarn is 8oz of DK weight alpaca/merino/silk from Briar Rose Fibers
- The blue/purple fiber batt from Stillwater Farm is a blend of merino, english angora and firestar
- The rainbow yarn is the colorway Mr. Roy G. Biv on the Twist and Shout Base (DK weight) from BaH Yarns
- The red yarn is the colorway Heart’s Blood on the Slightly Silky (merino/silk fingering weight) from Copper Centaur Studios
- The fiber at the bottom is 100% nylon from Hello Purl
Notions and Accessories:
- The canvas and fiber is a mini rug hooking kit from Breezy Manor (aka Donna Jo Copeland aka where I got Winston). I’ve always been intrigued but a large project is a little overwhelming. So I got the little kit. It will have a bunny on it and Donna Jo gave me some white fiber so I can make a white bunny like Winston.
- The two “pouches” in the upper left of the photo are yarn keepers. You put your yarn ball in (the bottom opens up square) and close the snap. I’m hoping it’ll protect my yarn when it invariably hits the floor. These two are from The Felted Garden (on Etsy as thefeltedgarden).
- The soap is from Simple Soapworks and I buy some every year. I love the oatmeal in the soap because it really does exfoliate. This year I got two scents – lavender rosemary and oatmeal.
- The pouch in the lower left is a yarn keep from a different booth. I like this one a lot because the fabric is heavier and it has a d ring on the side. It has strings to cinch close but I might replace those with the little plastic stoppers you squeeze. These are made by DC Bags and she will be be opening a shop May 1 on Etsy. She also has a lot of nice wedge project bags.
- The white stick on the left side it a goat milk lotion bar in the lavender scent. The maker is Gentle Meadow Goat Farm but it was sold by Midwest Fiber. They had a lot of nice alpaca yarns and fibers as well.
- The tubes on the top are handmade lip balms from Ballyhoo Fiber Emporium. I got chocolate cherry and strawberry vanilla although there were many more options. This vendor also has a podcast which I’m going to give a try very soon.
- The odd looking contraption on the right is a ball holder. You put the base of the V up the center off your yarn cake and the ring on your wrist/forearm so you can carry your yarn. Usually I can clip a project bag to a belt loop but that doesn’t work for my skirt. Hopefully this will! I bought it from Mother of Purl, although the website listed is www.barnhart-studios.com.
- Last but not listed I found a stemless wine glass from knitbaahpurl, sold via a different vendor’s booth. I got the one that says “Three Sheeps to the Wind” (which I have on a t-shirt already) and may order another that says “Sheep Faced.”
That’s all folks!
I spent some time in December thinking about my goals from last year and my goals for this year. I felt last year like my time for fiber arts was being ruled by my goals. Finish x many designs, knit x many yards, and so on. In some ways, it sucked the fun out of it. I think it was a combination of too many goals and being too optimistic. So this year I’ve dialed back and instead of focusing on quantity, I’m focusing on learning new things. That sounds way more fun, right?
A couple notes about the blog – I’ll be staying with the blog posts every other week, with a focus on them being shorter. They’ll also be published on Sunday going forward.
Review of last year:
I knit 3,500 yards across nine projects. Six of those were my own designs, with one not yet released. Four were shawls, two were cowls. I finished one spinning project but have several more on the wheels and bobbins. I released five new patterns, the most recent being the Sybil Ludington shawl, which may be my favorite. I taught two new classes (Lace Knitting 101 & Bead Knitting) plus one old one (raw fleeces) at two different fiber events.
About setting goals:
I posted year before last about setting SMART goals, particularly as they rely to fiber artists. That post is here. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time relevant. While I think its a valid method, its not what I used this year.
- Write and submit one article
- Develop and teach two new classes
- Design and publish two new patterns
- Learn how to knit entrelac
- Learn how to knit brioche
- Learn to spin with beads
- Spin a consistent worsted weight yarn
Several recent acquisitions!
Erin Lane Bags. I got two new project bags from Erin Lane Bags in two of her new Sheeple prints. The one on the left is a sock size bag in the Harry Potter print and the one on the right is a Zippity-Do-Da in the Dr. Who print. I had to wait to show it off because I got a matching Dr. Who bag for a friend for her birthday. What can be more fun than nerdy sheep?
Ann Tudor Stitch Markers. I got these lovelies from local glass artist Ann Tudor. She makes amazing stitch markers. The set on the left is Christmas lights with a poinsetta as my round marker. The set on the right are sheep with a black sheep (haha) as the round marker. I still plan to order her other Christmas set too.
Knitting Pouch. A cute little find at JoAnn’s (it was in an aisle cap if you’re thinking of looking). Didn’t really need it, per se, but thought the definition was pretty epic.
Chicago Yarn #1. Bought this gradient cake from the LYS Nina in Chicago, Illinois. It’s Apple Tree Knits Plush in the Tahoe Gradient. 560 yards of fingering weight merino squishy goodness.
Chicago Yarn #2. This one is kind of unique so I’m going to take the time to share about it. I bought it at Knit 1 in Chicago and its 100% handspun cashgora. The picture appears black but its really a very deep, dark purple. There isn’t really a brand, other than “Cashmere People.” Their website is here and tells their story in detail. I love that I can go and read about the woman who spun the yarn I bought. Her profile is here.
I’m lucky to have two primary areas of the house in which I knit and spin. During the summer I go down to the living room on the main floor simply because the upstairs is too hot. But, my favorite spot is my winter spot upstairs in the loft. I’m not why I love it so much more – maybe the coziness, maybe the layout and maybe the decor. Usually I try to wait until the weather is consistently fall-like in October but this year I just couldn’t wait. So this past Saturday I made the “great” migration.
The first step was to just bring everything upstairs and set it out all over the floor. Then I organized and put everything away. Some things have changed since Spring (I’m more into using my planner with pretty stickers) and I wanted some of the random tools/accessories better organized.
All my planner supplies, including unused months, filler paper, stickers, washi tape and pens, fit in this bottom drawer.
This was the drawer that I desperately needed to organize better. Previously, everything was just tossed in and, given the height of the drawer, it was a disaster. I discovered that two of the small storage container fit stacked upon each other. The containers are clear which makes identifying the contents quick and easy. That said, I might still label them with washi tape for color!
This corner contains my swift, ball winder and skein winder and on the wall above hangs project bags. I binge-watch Netflix while knitting so the TV and I are great friends.
My e-spinner and spinning accessories live on the bookshelves, along with my camera, magazines and books. Also new this fall is a green basket for my adult coloring books and creative notebooks. I recently started reading Let the Elephants Run, The Creativity Challenge and The Productivity Project. I like being able to just pull out the bin and do something out of my norm.
Lastly, my comfy cozy recliner. It’s mate bit the dust last year (RIP) and this one is probably 10-12 years old. There will be tears when this one goes kaput. The double decker end table was bought for $1 at an estate sale. Great use of space and its a perfect surface for my e-spinner. The colorful cubes on the back wall contain yarn. And more yarn. And a bit more yarn.
Thank you for joining me on a quick tour of my loft!
Second fiber festival of the year is in the books! I spent most of my time teaching, a little socializing, and some shopping.
I had three wonderful classes with some smart and fantastic students. Unfortunately, I only got pictures of my raw fleeces class because I had a bit more time. It’s so rewarding to see the moment a new skill “clicks” with a student.
On Friday I taught Lace Knitting 101 and after talking about yarn and needle selection we worked through a couple swatches to learn some common lace stitches and how to read lace charts. Saturday morning I taught raw fleeces and I talked about selecting a fleece before we hand processed some samples of wool and alpaca. Lastly, I taught Bead Knitting Rockstar Saturday afternoon. We talked about bead selection and worked through different ways of adding beads to knitting. If you took one of my classes I’d love to see what you’ve done!
Around teaching I did a little shopping. I also ordered two skeins from Copper Centaur, which Lucy is dying up for me this week.
Combing Spray – Something new to try! I’ve seen recipes/formulas for combing spray but didn’t have easy access to all the supplies. When I saw this I wanted to give it a shot. The idea is it will decrease the fly-aways when combing. I bought the lavender scent. The seller is Twistery Fiber here.
Soap – I’m a sucker for natural soaps since they are a lot less likely to make my skin itch (and I can recognize all the ingredients). I bought lavender scented goat milk soap. The soap is made by Gina’s Essentials here.
Two 3oz DK weight skeins of merino from Knitted to a T. The deep blue color is called Sapphire. I think I might knit another Curl shawl with it.
Hand-dyed self-striping yarn from a new company – BaH Yarns (Brenda and Heather Yarns). This is the Mr. Sparkle Base, a blend of superwash merino wool, silk, nylon and glitz. The colorway is Winter Sunset, stripes of yellow, orange, coral and purple.
Lastly, from A Good Yarn, is handpainted 100% superwash merino. The first skein is a gray with spots of teal. The second skein is dark gray, nearly black. I plant to use these together in the form of stripes.
I finished the Roving Indiana Yarn Crawl for 2016 and went to all fourteen stores!
For the uninitiated, I will briefly explain the basics of our local yarn crawl, now in its third year and including 14 local yarn stores (LYSs). You
buy a passport from one of the participating LYSs and go around to each LYS (by the way, this a fun day trip with friends) over the course of two and a half weeks. At each LYS you get your passport stamped and get entered for a store drawing. If you make a purchase at the store, you get 10% off. At the last shop they certify your passport and are entered into the large prize drawings. In addition, there is a yarn dyed specifically for the yarn crawl.
Sidenote: Its fun to show off your handknits when visiting the yarn shops.
I went to eight of the fifteen stores the first Saturday with a group of friends. It was a crazy day – we left at 9am and got back around 6pm. I visited the store near my office one day over lunch and hit the remainder on my own. I turned in my passport at my last stop, Knitter’s Nook in Columbus. I won’t talk about everything I purchased in detail (at the risk of this post taking half an hour to read) but will highlight my top items. There’s a list at the bottom of the yarns, colorways and where I bought them in case you’re interested. Also, I’ll be tweeting/posting photos on Instagram of the specific purchases.
- New to me yarns: Araucania’s dk merino kettle dyed (the cream, blue and purple in upper right) and Twizzlefoot (third skein from left on top)
- An old favorite: Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere (blue in center) and Malabrigo Silkpaca Lace (blue-green in middle right)
- Some Anzula from a trunk show at The Black Sheep. This is also where they have a “room of Malabrigo.” Seriously – the whole room is Malabrigo.
- My favorite purchase: the red handmade mug with a quote on the front. This is the same place I got the purple angora mug last year.
- Ready to cast on now: A shawl using the solid red and the yarn designed for the yarn crawl (just right of top center).
- Fun non-yarn accessories: pins from yarn shops (I collect them), the mug and two small notions bags.
- Something to try: HiyaHiya Sharps needle tips and cord. I’m interested to see how these compare to my Chiaogoos.
The master list:
- (top row left to right) Denim luster (merino/silk) by Anzula from The Black Sheep in Noblesville
- Summit multi-color Twizzlefoot by Mountain Colors Yarn from Broad Ripple Knits in Broad Ripple
- Messenger Kit (teal and purple) in Mad Hatter from Wonderland Yarns (Frabjous Fibers) from The Clay Purl in Nashville
- Colorway Global Mix in Smooshy with Cashmere by Dream in Color Yarns from Shabby Sheep and Ewe in Columbus
- Bright red Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock and the crawl yarn by Knitted Wit from Always in Stitches in Noblesville
- Three colors of Araucania Huasco DK from Knitters Nook in Columbus
- (second row left to right) Deep aqua Fyberspates Vivacious from Mass Ave Knit Shop in Indianapolis
- Angora Lace by Wisdom Yarns in colorway Back to Nature from In a Yarn Basket in Bloomington.
- A few Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails in jewel tones from Village Yarn Shop in Zionsville.
- Malabrigo yarn silkpaca lace in the Solis colorway from Yarn on the Square in Shelbyville
- (bottom row left to right) Sewn notion bag from Willowe’s Basketry in Greenfield
- Red mug, lotion and HiyaHiya interchangeable tips and cord from Starstruck Cat Studio in Greenwood
- Gray felted notion pouch from Frabjous Fibers bought at Yarns Unlimited in Bloomington.
(above – Woolee Winder flyer gear)
The good news is I finished something since my last On The Wheel post. The bad news is one of these items is still on here. My default wheel is still my eSpinner and thus I haven’t been spinning on my Kromski Sonata nearly as much. Both my Sonata projects are in my bin for this year. I set aside (out of my stash baskets) enough fiber (that I really want to spin) to meet my ounce spinning goal for the year. It is sort of a “Spin the Bin” thing but a bit more relaxed.
This is my next, not even quite on the wheel yet, fiber to spin on the miniSpinner. Although it might be on the wheel by the time the post goes live. The fiber is again from Fiber Fancy (which I believe is now defunct) and is a 70/30 blend of merino/alpaca.The colorway is called “Dark Spectrum” and is a natural gray alpaca overdyed with red, orange, yellow, green and blue. I have 4.2 ounces and intend to complete it as a two-ply yarn. The second ply tentatively will be solid black alpaca.
This is 4.2 ounces from wooliebullie and is a 50% merino, 50% mulberry silk blend. The colorway is Beaujolais – a deep purple/magenta. Buttery smooth top to the touch. I’m aiming for a 2-ply lace or light fingering. My default 2-ply is a sport weight so the lace is a challenge for me. It’s slow going – I’ve been pre-drafting a lot to keep it consistently thin. I divided the top in half (one for each ply) and am still on the first half. I will finish both bobbins of singles and then ply on the eSpinner, I think.
This is fiber from Tomorrow Farm for the Once Upon a Time Spin Along. I bought two different colorways from this spin along – Emma and Snow White. My Snow White (eight ounces) became this shawl. The Emma fiber is proving a bit more challenging (I’m blaming the tencel). The fiber includes alpaca, tencel, merino and faux cashmere and is a pretty blend of blues, white and grays. As with the purple above, I’ll finish spinning the singles on the Sonata and then ply on the miniSpinner.