Seaglass Spinning

So, I have had a crazy busy couple of weeks since the fair! Changing schedules, lots of other personal stuff keeping me busy, sheesh! I’m excited that’s ALMOST fall, because I like fall just about as much as I like fall fairs (so um, a lot). All that personal busyness, combined with continuing to be very careful and mindful and minimal around crafting, to keep my wrists healthy, means not a ton of progress on all of my projects.

BUT! I have been doing a little bit of spinning. For some reason, the last few years, late summer and early fall seem to be the time of year that I remember how fun spinning is. Several years ago, I took a spindle spinning class at one of my local yarn stores, and then was gifted some extremely beautiful handmade spindles by my cabinetmaker brother-in-law. And THEN figured out that spinning fiber tends to be a bit cheaper than yarn even… so now I have LOTS of fiber, and LOTS of spindles, and occasionally I actually combine those with my HANDS and get to making yarn :)

So, here’s the fiber I pulled out of my stash (which is, thanks to a recent closet downsize, sadly in bags in a pile… sigh.): It’s 4 oz of 22 micron merino pencil roving from a (now out of business) local dyer, Everything Old. (The dyer now has a fabulous knit/spin/sew podcast – check it out: The Knitting Pretty Podcast!!) The colourway is what pulled me WAY in when I bought this at Fibrations 2012; it’s called “seaglass”.

Seaglass Pencil Roving

Holy gorgeous, right?

Seaglass Pencil Roving

Even smushed up in its bag it looks pretty great :)

It has been a delight to spin, so far!

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And how pretty is this spindle?

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I’m planning to ply this, although I haven’t yet decided whether it will be 2-ply or 3-ply. Feeling pretty excited about how fine I’m able to spin it, though! And dreaming about what I’ll eventually knit with the yarn. I’m a VERY slow spinner (spindle + still park & draft + only spin once in a while), so it will be a long time until this is a knitting project, but it’s so so fun and at the end YOU GET YARN! If you’ve never tried spinning – do it :)

Saanich Fall Fair 2014!

Finally, the fall fair! We went last weekend, and I haven’t had time to share the news until now (because we also moved last weekend… busy times!) This post has kind of a ton of photos, so I hope you’re into that.

First, I won’t lie, I went to check out the Needlework Room, since that’s where my entries were! (In case you missed it, the post about what I entered is here.) Out of four entries, two won blue ribbons! SO EXCITED! Both the cabled mittens and the Shepherd Hoodie won in their categories :) The other two things just got to be part of the fair, which is also pretty excellent as far as I’m concerned. The Shepherd Hoodie also won the Victoria Knitters’ Guild award for best Fancy Knitted Sweater! So cool. I love fairs. (And if I’m honest I really like winning stuff too.)

Winning Mittens! (The white ones)

Winning sweater! (The white one, again)

My garter spectrum blanket!

Other awesome stuff we saw in the Needlework room: an incredibly cool knitted salmon, a crazy intricate knitted gingerbread house…

Coolest knitted SALMON!

Incredibly intricate knitted gingerbread

The whole room was full of amazing things, which of course I failed to photograph. Oops! I did snap lots of other cool fair stuff though. Vegetable dude!

Incredible vegetable dude

Tiny adorable plants!

Tiny tiny plants

Apples make me feel like fall is right there. Right?

APPLES GALORE!

Beautiful and leafy!

Thanks for the instructions 4-H!

How to Ice a Cake. Thanks 4H!

I ate these. Also mini-donuts which I failed to photograph :)

Hot dog. Onion Rings. Yes.

MOHAIR GOATS!

Regular goats and mohair goats!

ALPACA PARTY! I got to pet one. What.

ALPACA PARTY! I got to pet one.

Sheep haircut time! Just a trim.

Sheep in the beauty chair

Brad: “Do you know why some of them wear coats?” Me: “YES! It keeps their wool cleaner and prevents it from being discoloured by the sun. KNOWLEDGE!”

Sheep in coats

Sheep buddies :) Their faces are basically the cutest.

HI SHEEP FRIEND!

Cows

Sunflowers

Fluffy bunny

Prize winning eggs! This colour is bananas.

Prize winning eggs

Bye fair! I’m already excited and planning for what I’d like to enter next year.

Bye fair!

Is there a local fall or agricultural fair near you? I heartily recommend them :)

FIBRATIONS Recap!

On the weekend, I got to do one of my very favourite things – attend a local fiber festival! I’m lucky to live in a place that has a thriving, excellent local yarn and fiber culture. Our most awesome local event is called Fibrations, and it’s pretty delightful. Vendors, artisans, and community groups set up at St. Ann’s Academy, and there is tons to see and do and buy (and eat – there are even food trucks)! The whole thing is run by one of our best local yarn shops, Knotty by Nature.

Unfortunately, every year I end up getting sidetracked by all the yarn and fiber and taking too few and mostly terrible photos.

Terrible photo of vendor tents!

Raffle Ticket Tent!

See? You can’t really tell how awesome the event is from those. Oops. This one is a lot better:

Humming Bee Farm's incredible banner

Isn’t Humming Bee Farm‘s banner AMAZING?

Even though I did not take great photos, I had SO much fun :)

Excited Fibrations Face!

I DID take lots of photos of the yarn and fiber that came home with me. Here’s my haul!

Fibrations Haul woooooo!

Let’s break this down, shall we? My first stop was the RainCityKnits booth. I’m a pretty unabashed RainCity fangirl – I even knit a sample sock for them last year in their Local Sports Team colourway. Krista is the mastermind behind the company, and she is SO sweet! She was totally lovely to chat to :) I had planned to get something neon and solid coloured from them (I want to make the Neon Ski Bonnet for myself this winter, and obviously RainCity is the place to go for NEON!), but in the end I was seduced by THIS, which is on a merino/tussah silk base:

Rain City Neons + Vic skyline

RAIN CITY AMAZINGNESS!

AAAAH NEON SPRINKLES!!!! I loved this skein SO MUCH that I kind of walked around the festival with it around my shoulders. Isn’t RainCity’s needle gauge cool, too? I love it! If you haven’t seen RainCity’s full neon awesome line, check it out right now! (Warning, everything is beautiful and vibrant and you are going to want all of it basically.)

My next must-see stop was JOMA yarn, new to me and sooooo full of gorgeousness. I picked up a skein of stunning one of a kind hand dyed sock yarn (the CRAZY BEAUTIFUL colourway is “Wild Child”, and the base is Glam Panda – merino, bamboo, and nylon) – it’s greeney and yellowey and has spashes of teal and bright happy red/pink and yeah I love it. I also got some mini skeins at the JOMA booth, because they were beautiful and super affordable and perfect for my Six’es blanket!

Joma, huge new crush.

The mini skeins are (top to bottom) are Circus Clown, I Fought the Law, and She Wore a Raspberry Beret. So darling!

I also got some spinning fiber. First, from Humming Bee Farm, 2 ounces of green, hand dyed Corriedale wool! This may be a surprise but I am into green ;)

Corriedale from Humming Bee Farm

From Ba-a-ad Ass Textiles, I also got 4 ounces of super pretty Romney wool!

Fiber scores!

The colour makes me think of winter ocean at Dallas Road :)

Even though I’m still only knitting and spinning a tiny tiny bit because of my sensitive, sore wrists, I’m really excited about my new yarns and fibers. Ahhhhh, fiber festivals :) I’m already looking forward to next year!

GUESS WHAT TIME IT (almost) IS!

It’s aaaaaaaalmost FALL FAIR TIME!

Sign

As you may remember from last year, I am a HUGE fall fair fan. I just kind of love everything about them, a quality which has baffled a lot of my friends lately. But seriously, what’s NOT to love about them? Crisp weather (hopefully), adorable animals of all kinds, deep fried foods, farmer’s marketey produce and products, a midway, and exhibits full of hand made entries! I love love love fall fairs :)

Last year was the first year I entered things I had made into the fair since I was a kid, and it was definitely as fun as I remembered! I even won some ribbons, which was delightful.

A few days ago, I dropped off my entry form for this year’s fair. Eeeee! Not the actual entries yet, those don’t need to go in until shortly before the fair in a few weeks.

Entries!

So, based on those only slightly cryptic categories, can you guess what I’m entering? (You don’t actually have to guess… I’m going to tell you because EXCITEMENT!)

First, a plain sweater, which can only have garter, stockinette, and ribbing. Remember this guy?

Cozy!

Plain! And cozy :)

Next, a sweater with “fancy stitching”!

Shepherd

Basically, there are 3 categories of sweater – plain, fancy, and traditional aran. Even though this sweater has aran elements, I don’t think it’s a “traditional” aran. Hence, fancy stitching! I’m really really proud of this sweater, so I hope the judges like it.

The third entry is a baby’s blanket. I’m entering this happy thing!

A pop of colour!

I know the difficulty level is very low, since it’s all garter stitch, but I love the colours, so I’m going to enter it :)

Last thing! MITTENS! I’m entering these softie cabley beauties.

Here's to warm hands!

That’s it! I still have a few weeks to wait until the actual fair, but I’m really looking forward o it already. Are you entering anything in your local fair? If you never have, DEFINITELY consider it! It’s really fun, and helps to support agricultural fairs so they can continue to exist. Yay fairs!

Custom knitting bags… for me?! :)

Guess what lovely surprise arrived for me in the mail the other day? These amazing handmade project bags!

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My mom is an accomplished patternmaker, designer, and sewer (she even has a degree in design!), and she sewed me up these two awesome bags. What a special gift, eh?! She saw some bags at a knitting marketplace recently, and then noticed these two fabrics in a fabric store, and came up with these – her own design!

They’re both fully lined (each with the opposite fabric from the other bag! So cool!), and have a great toggle attachment as well as a handle.

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I am so excited to use them. I never seem to have enough project bags, and I end up stashing WIPs in my closet in a messy pile (so that my cat can’t get into the yarn, it HAS to be put away at all times. She is sneaky. She ate a huge piece of ribbon recently, which was both extremely scary and very dangerous. Cat health is my #1 priority, and yarn security is also important!)

As you can see, SOMEBODY thought the bags were actually for her… incorrect!

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I’m already storing my greeny-gold Cold Mountain in the smaller bag, and deciding which project will get the honour of living in the larger bag! Very much looking forward to carrying these around town with me :) THANKS MOM!

Patience, Grasshopper.

Let me be honest: resting is pretty boring.

I’d much, much rather be knitting. Even in the summer. Every evening. In all my spare moments.

BUT, I’m trying to be grateful for even little snippets if I can get them. Two or three rows in a day, instead of twelve or thirteen. Mostly I’m still resting, keeping my brains busy with work (so much work) and reading.

I am slowly, sloooowly giving myself a little bit of time with the needles. Just a row or two, and then back to wrist rest.

I’ve been working my one or two rows on a project that has been hibernating for a while – the pattern is Kieran Foley’s Cold Mountain (I’m making the Chevrons variation), and the yarn is Juniper Moon Findley in Greengage. There’s a really first rate photo of the shawl pattern on Kieran’s page, here. (You can see I’m about 1/3 through it.) I last wrote about it on the Juniper Moon blog a looong time ago.

The colour reads more gold in these photos, but it’s my favourite goldy-green.

Cold Mountain

The pattern is free, and has three different charts to follow. Sections of each chart are worked a given number of times, so there’s lots of detail to pay attention to.

Cold Mountain

So far, I’ve finished one of the charts, and have just moved on to the second. I pulled this project out to be my “tiny baby steps back to knitting” project, because there are lots of different stitches to be worked. Lace is a bit more diverse than garter stitch, (hopefully) giving my hands less of a chance to get irritated by repetition.

The downside to lace knitting? Before it’s blocked, it looks a bit of a mess.

Cold Mountain

Even if you stretch it out!

Cold Mountain

A row or two is better than none, right? I’ll keep being patient.

Keeping from Knitting.

I am trying to listen to my body, and let it rest, and let it heal, and remember that “not as sore for the last hour or so” is not the same as “healed and ready to do things again”.

It’s the weekend, and I would really really like to spend a chunk of today relaxing and enjoying some knitting. But I KNOW I shouldn’t. My wrists really aren’t better, I’m still icing them every night just from the amount of hand writing (notes) and typing (notes) and mouse-use (charts and internet and research) I’m doing at work. Even with lots of breaks.

I don’t know quite what all of this extended arm trouble means for my future, but I cannot think about a future with no knitting.

For now, I’m trying to stick to my guns and not pick up my sticks! ;)

Instead, I’ve been reading a lot. In the last two weeks, I’ve read This Is How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, Wintergirls and The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson, If I Stay by Gayle Foreman, and The Railway Man by Eric Lomax. I know, a lot of YA Fiction.

Let me know if you have books to recommend, so I can keep sticking to my healing-up resolutions!

Hexagons Catchup!

Hi! Happy July!

I’m still not actively knitting. Resting, resting, resting my body (mostly wrists and arms). Well, resting them in the sense that I’m not knitting. I can’t get away from typing and writing and other hand-active activities (I made those terms up, could you tell?), because jobs.

But! I have some hexagon pictures to show you from a couple of weeks ago :)

I’m working sloooowly on the Six’es blanket (pattern by Karen S. Lauger). I want it to be as full-sized as possible, so I’m aiming for 189 hexagons. I’m currently at… (drumroll)…

Hex pileup!

75. Oh.

I thought I had way more complete! Look at the height of that hexagon tower! That’s okay – it just means more fun time knitting hexagons in the future. (Also, look at all these crazy yarn tails!)

One million yarn tails

I also had some new yarn to knit hexagons with – I had a birthday a while ago, and was gifted a Knitpicks gift card! Here’s what I chose: four colours of Knitpicks Palette yarn!

New Yarn!

Let’s zoom in a bit closer…

Happy colours

Oh yeah. LOVE those colours! I started with the pistachio green, and then cast on with the royal blue.

Pistachio Half Hex

Pistachio Hex

Cobalt Blue Potential

Blocking, as always, makes a HUGE difference with these little shapes.

Hexa-bath

Ta da!

Hex blocking

Even though this project is super slow going, I’m still enjoying working up these little 6-sided jolts of colourful happy. Hopefully when my body is back in knitting shape I’ll be churning out more of them!

Not my favourite kind of post…

Just a quick post to say that I’m resting my wrists again! Sigh.

I started a new job (YAY!), but it involves a lot of writing and typing, and that’s leading to some wrist-ey pains. When I’m feeling sore just from a regular day, adding knitting on top just isn’t a good idea. It’s a bummer, but I’m trying to be smart and give my body a rest when I’m not working.

I do have some fun progress to show you from before things started feeling sore and burny, though! Look for that stuff soon :)

In the meantime, wish me healing and stronger arm muscles! ;)

Greens galore! (aka blanket update)

Guess what! Garter chevron stripe blanket update! :D

A sneak peak is enough, right?

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A little bit more?

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TA DA!

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In all it’s three-stripes-and-four-colours-done-so-far glory! Um, yes. It’s still making me super happy. Squishy and drapey and garterey and GREEN! For real.

Getting to start a new colour in any striped project is always especially exciting for me. The first of the darker greens!

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Even though it’s starting to get a little bit warm where I am, our summers are pretty mild, and working on this blanket in the cool evenings or shadier afternoons is still totally pleasant.

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I’m inching along! This is the last full stripe, which is also pretty exciting. Once this colour is finished (which won’t be a for a while), I’ll be knitting two triangles to fill in the bottom corners. I love this pattern! (It’s the Heirloom Chevron Throw by Jocelyn Tunney :) )

Besides this garterey goodness, I’ve been working on another blanket project, too… (you can probably guess which one). Are you into blanket knitting? I am a teeny bit obsessed :)