2017 Goals

Yarn Crawl Shop - Sheep Street

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.

2017 goals:

FloofyMoose Fibers

  1. Write and submit one article
  2. Develop and teach two new classes
  3. Design and publish two new patterns

Knitting

  1. Learn how to knit entrelac
  2. Learn how to knit brioche

Spinning

  1. Learn to spin with beads
  2. Spin a consistent worsted weight yarn

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Holidays Wrap Up and Goodies

Welcome to 2017! Before jumping in my 2017 fiber arts goals I under to recap the holiday, and some new goodies!

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I know I went quiet in December – work was just crazy! I barely did any knitting, except for two small stuffies I’ll talk about in another posts.  I’m excited to say I’m going to the Knitting Pipeline retreat in February.  Is anyone else going?!?

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I went to my aunt’s in Illinois in Springfield for Thanksgiving, where I got her started on her first knitting project.  She bought a kit at Stitches Midwest so I wound the yarn and got the stole started.  She remembered how to knit from 4-H so we jumped right into purling, which she did great at.  We also went to a local yarn shop (and I bought yarn, duh).

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Then I went back home to Missouri for Christmas and my brother came back to Indiana with me for a week.  Our big outing was to the Indianapolis Zoo.  My parents came up for the New Years holiday weekend.   I’m ready for another vacation already!

On to the goodies (related websites are linked – check them out!):

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A holiday set of stitch markers by local glass artist Ann Tudor.  She has a ton of different stitch markers, which you can see here.

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Three skeins of Knitted Wit Victory Sock from the local yarn shop in Springfield, Illinois, called Nanncy’s Knitworks.  The colors are yellow, Orange you Glad and Turks & Caicos.  These are for Stephen West’s Doodler shawl.

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I received this beauty in black and lime green from my friend Patty.  It’s already decided it wants to be a hat.  The fiber is 50/50 Alpaca/Silk from Woolgatherings.  She also got me some llama socks.

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Knit a Turkey for Thanksgiving

Ready for something different? Since I don’t fix turkey for thanksgiving, I’m about knitting one.  I wanted to share my four favorite found patterns from Ravelry.  Disclaimer: I haven’t knit any of these (yet) so all photo credits go to the original designers.

Turkey Toy by Rainebo A new pattern from Lorraine Pistoria that is so cute.  He is knit in the round and uses approximately 330 yards of worsted weight yarn.  Pattern is $4 US through Craftsy (link to the Craftsy page is on the Ravelry page).  If the pattern doesn’t specify to I would likely add a little bit of weight (rice, etc.) in the bottom so he keeps his balance when sitting.

 

Tiny Turkey by Susan B. Anderson. A free pattern available on Ravlery that has been knit nearly 200 times.  He is also knit in the round using worsted weight yarn. It doesn’t appear the pattern states how much is yardage is used in total.  Susan B. Anderson is known for her exception toy patterns and this is no different.

 

Turkey Feather Hat by Abigail Polzin. Adorable!! This is a basic baby hat that the waddle, feathers and beak are then stitched onto.  The pattern is free but may require knowledge of of a separate baby hat pattern. It uses up to 150 yards of worsted weight yarn.

Happy Turkey Day Dishcloth by One Crafty Mama.  If you want something more practical, here’s a cute dishcloth.  The pattern is free and uses cotton worsted weight yarn.  A link to the pattern is available from Ravelry to the One Craft Mama blog.

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New Yarn and Fiber Arts Goodies

Several recent acquisitions!

ErinLane Collage

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 Collage

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Knitting Pattern Release: Sybil Ludington Shawl

I’m pleased to announce that I just released my a cozy new shawl for fall, The Sybil Ludington Shawl!  It features a crescent shape with long wings, perfect to wrap around you., and uses just under two 100 gram skeins of fingering weight yarn.  Each row of the shawl is worked across different sections: mesh, a cable panel, lace, another cable panel and then mesh again.   I’m sure you’ll enjoy curling up to knit, and wear, this shawl.

01a Back

You can buy it and read more about it on Ravelry (you don’t have to be a member!).  Click here!

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The stitch patterns for the cable and the lace are provided in a chart, as well as written out, and percentages of yarn used are also provided if you wish to modify the size of your shawl.  The pattern has been test knitted and tech edited.

Who is Sybil Ludington? While Paul Revere is most commonly credited with riding to alert militia of approaching British forces, so did the young Sybil Ludington.  Her father headed the local militia during the American Revolution.  On April 26, 1777, at the age of 16, she left on a forty mile ride to warn her father’s militiamen that British troops were planning to attack Danbury, Connecticut.  Her ride lasted from 9 p.m. to dawn the next morning and one of her stops was to warn the people of Danbury.  While the British troops destroyed several buildings and homes in Danbury, there were few people killed, due in large part to Sybil’s warning.

02a Detail

  • Yarn
    • Approximately 720 yards fingering weight yarn. Shown in Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 (70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere and 10% nylon, 400 yards, 3.53oz) in the colorway Black Cherry.   Other suggested yarns include Cascade Heritage Silk, Dream in Color Smooshy, or Plucky Primo Fingering.
  • Needle
    • Size US 4 (3.5mm) circular needle in a length of 32″/81 cm, or size needed to obtain gauge.
  • Other Materials
    • 4 stitch markers
    •  Tapestry needle
    •  Cable needle
    •  Blocking pins
    •  Optional: additional stitch markers for marking lace repeats

01b Arm

  • Finished Measurements
    • After Blocking
      • 35.5″ wide
      • 38.5″ height (or depth)

The shawl is blocked aggressively width-wise. Meeting exact gauge is not crucial but may affect the final dimensions. 

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Fibery Fun in Chicago

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I feel like I haven’t posted in forever.  This past weekend was my first weekend at home without any major commitments since the middle of September so I’m finally starting to catch up.  Most notable of the last few weeks was a quick girl’s weekend in Chicago visiting a friend.  It was a great, and crafty, weekend.  I’ll include my yarn purchases soon (waiting so I don’t inadvertently disclose a friend’s birthday present).

Now anytime I’m traveling and know I’ll have some shopping time I always look up the closest yarn shop(s) to where I’m staying. I found two fairly close to my friend’s place in Chicago.  Saturday morning we went to the first one, Knit 1.  I loved the clean, sleek lines and the variety of yarn they carried.

Chicago

Also at the yarn shop I found a pattern that looks fun to knit.  This is how I take note of patterns I’m interested in prior to saving them to my favorites in Ravelry.  Just a quick snap  of the tag with the pattern name!

Next we ventured out to Ikea, because every crafter needs Ikea.  Important to crafters were two things.  One, a Raskog Cart.  This cart is reasonably priced, very sturdy and is great for keeping your knitting, spinning, or other craft supplies nearby.  Second, is the Fintrop system.  Long story short, this is a metal bar on which you hang metal baskets.  It’s actually designed for the kitchen but I’m repurposing it for above my desk in the fiber studio.  Putting straight knitting needles in it would look equally smashing.

Chicago

On the way home, we stopped at the second yarn shop, Nina.  This was a narrow but very deep yarn shop located in the city’s Wicker Park neighborhood.  This shop was equally well organized but a more eclectic variety of yarns.  I found a couple goodies and noticed some stitch markers from a local to me glass artist, Ann Tudor.

Chicago

After relaxing a bit, we went back out for dinner to a new for me taste – Ethiopian.  Simply amazing and now I’m hooked. It was so flavorful and yummy – if you’ve never had it, and you like ethnic foods, you should try.  The food is served atop a spongey bread called Injera, which is used to pick up and eat the food.

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Photo Post: Maine Coastline 2009

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Warning: Picture heavy post!

I’ve had a busy couple weeks and another coming up so I’m “cheating” with a photo post from a vacation to Maine in 2009. What’s interesting is I shot all these photos with a  then  thirty year old SLR camera.  It was my dad’s back then and I learned on it. Unfortunately I don’t still have the notes for each photo as to the specific locations but all are from along the coast of Maine.

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Loft Crafting Space

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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.

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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.

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All my planner supplies, including unused months, filler paper, stickers, washi tape and pens, fit in this bottom drawer.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

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September 2016 Odds n’ Ends

It’s almost fall.  We’re almost there! I love fall – cinnamon, apples, fallen leaves, the slight chill, plaid shirts (which apparently is “in” this fall”) and more apples.  Seriously, I’ve already dehydrated five pounds of apples and made chili.

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Small Stash Swap Weekend before last my friend brought over some yarn she wanted to swap.  She had received some yarn from a family member that she couldn’t use (she’s allergic to wool – how tragic is that?). In particular, she was hoping for some Knit Picks Stroll I had in my stash.  So, I traded for the beauties pictured beauties.  Left to right: 1)Sassafras Sock in Jack’O’Lantern from Hiwassee Creek Dyeworks; 2)Vesper sock in Tartan from Knitterly Things; and 3)Bounce in Here We Go from Fibernymph Dyeworks.  So far I’ve avoided skeining them up, but that’s coming.

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New Bag Here is my very large custom bag (think sweater size) from The Silver Shed on Etsy.  The proprietress Ann was so great to work with and had the custom bag off to me so quickly.  One of the things I love about her shop is the ability to customize the bag by adding different types of exterior and interior pockets.  I also was able to choose to the interior fabric.  I couldn’t be more pleased.

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Upcoming Design I’m wrapping up a cozy autumn shawl that has mesh, lace and some simple cables.  It should go out to test knitters next weekend – if you’re interested in test knitting please shoot me an email or message me on Ravelry.  Hopefully it will be released around Halloween.

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Super Secret Project I’m not ready to disclose any names or details but I’m excited to be starting on some possible design work in collaboration with a yarn company.  They’ve sent some skeins and, after I finish the autumn shawl, I’m going to work on some sketches and swatches.  Hopefully I’ll have more to tell you about this next month.

Upcoming Events I will be demoing spinning and/or fiber prep at the National Alpaca Day open house at Montrose Farms on September 24th.  I have it on good authority there will be wine there 🙂

 

 

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Knitting Pattern Release: Landsford Canal Cowl

I’m pleased to announce I just released a new cowl pattern!  It uses one 100 gram skein of fingering weight yarn and is called Landsford Canal Cowl.  It features a lacey V pattern, cables and beads. Cables, lace and beads, OH MY!

Hanging

You can buy it and read more about it on Ravelry (you don’t have to be a member!).  Click here!

Bench

The Landsford Canal Cowl is knit in the round with a repeating cable and lace pattern and beads.  It uses one skein of sock yarn, perfect for that single skein you can’t decide how to use.  You can wear your cowl double looped as a casual mid-chest cowl or triple looped for a snugly neck warmer. The stitch pattern is provided in a chart, as well as written out, and percentages of yarn used are also provided if you wish to modify the size of your cowl. Also included is a checklist version of the pattern.  Detailed instructions are included for adding the beads, making this a great pattern if you’re new to knitting with beads.  The pattern has been test knitted and tech edited.

Model

  • Yarn
    • Approximately 420 yards fingering weight yarn. Shown in One Twisted Tree Prime (75% superwash merino & 25% nylon, 460 yards, 3.53oz/ 100g) in the colorway Miss Fisher’s Pearl Handled Pistol.  Other suggested yarns include Cascade Heritage, Dream in Color Smooshy, Knit Picks Stroll or Madelinetosh Twist Light.  You can visit and buy One Twisted Tree yarn here.
  • Needle
    • Size US 5 (3.5mm) circular needle in a length of 24″/60 cm or 32″/81 cm, or size needed to obtain gauge.
  • Other Materials
    • Crochet hook – Size US 13 (0.90mm)
    • 15 grams or 224 size 6/0 seed beads
    • At least 1 stitch marker
    • Cable needed
    • Tapestry needle
    • Blocking pins
  • Finished Measurements
    • After Blocking
      • 70″ circumference
      • 7.5″ height
  • Gauge (all over 4”/10cm)
    • After Blocking:
      • Pattern: 16 stitches & 36 rounds

Closeup

The cowl is blocked aggressively width-wise. Meeting exact gauge is not crucial but may affect the final dimensions. Stockinette gauge is provided to assist with determining an appropriate needle size for you.

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