Friday, October 17, 2014

DenKnits 2.20 STITCHES! but I digress...

I don't know if I've ever digressed so much :-D  This is a long one guys, but the last video was short, making up for it preemptively!

Finished Objects - I finished a Yoda hat for my cousin's toddler, it's a combination of this earflap hat and this Yoda hat.  The fingerless mitts have been received, they're my creation with a touch of a MelTran pattern.  I also got the Bender hat in the mail.  This was all my design and I hope to write up a pattern because there weren't any knit choices on Ravelry already!  The recipient of the Bender  hat (who has also gotten other hats from me) happened to be by the Jagger Spun factory for work and thought to stop in and pick up a skein for me!  Yay!!!

Works in Progress - The Easy Ripple Afghan is being crocheted for my son's teacher who is expecting a baby boy next month.  I'm also still plugging away on my Highland Handmades socks, just my usual vanilla sock.  My cousin's toddler is also getting a Mickey Mouse hat, I just need to figure out the ears!  I'm also working on a test knit for CoggieTM, KaRi from The High Fiber Diet.

Spinning - Finished the merino from TreLiz, my favorite Greek fiber artist :-)  The fiber spun on the wheel turned out deliciously but not the same weight as the spindle spun fiber.

Spinzilla - Go Team HappyFuzzyYarn!!!  I finished two 4oz braids on the wheel, one was 242yd (presoak)(968yd submittable) and the other 282yd (presoak)(1128yd submittable).  I also spindle spun on the road trip and managed to get through 3oz of another 4oz braid!  I was able to 2-ply 178yd (presoak) and had 68yd of singles (presoak) (for a total of 602yds submittable).  My total Spinzilla contribution was 2,698yds!!!

Stitches East - There was so much... I don't know what really needs to be notated here!  Well, it was amazing to finally meet Darn Good Yarn and just soak it all in.  I'm anxiously waiting for Stitches to post Fashion Show pics so we can all get a better look at our item as well as all the other gorgeous knitwear.  I saw Wendy from Knit1Heart2, I chatted with A Riot of Color and got a sock blank & a button, I picked up a few minis from White Birch Fiber Arts and some fiber from Highland Handmades along with a button for being a podcast fan!

DGY Designing - A sweater I designed is being released soon from DGY, along with a felt ball CaPOWl (it's a cape/cowl type thing) and I have two items in progress and one more to get started!  Expect lots from me through Darn Good Yarn over the next year or so :-)

What am I wearing?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

DenKnits 2.19 - I feel like I'm rushing but...

Super quick ep today!  So many secret FOs and WIPs make for a short podcast I guess :-)

Check out DenKnits - My favorite things and tell me what you think!

FO - Iris Goddess of the Rainbow Shawl out of Sheep Dreamery yarn

WIPs - Bender hat design out of Encore worsted
         - Socks out of Highland Handmades Sugar Maple Sock in Haven Colorway

Designing - DGY designs include a cape/cowl out of the felted ball wool, a top out of reclaimed sari silk ribbon and suede and a child's hat out of Yickity yak.

I also worked on some fingerless mitts that are a secret gift not seen by the recipient yet so those will be shown another time.

Spinning - Finally got back to the TreLiz merino in shades of purple that was originally spun on my Cattail Knits turkish spindle.  That was taking too long so I spun the rest on my wheel.  I've got around half done now!  Plan to 3-ply by the chain or Navajo-ply technique.

I received a birthday skein of yarn that I think I forgot to show on the podcast.  It's an indie dyed skein from Twin Mommy Creations purchased at Four Purls in FL.  She does also have an Etsy shop, but I can't find this Peruvian Highlands wool in it, what weight yarn do you think it is???

Since there wasn't much to show I talked a bit about upcoming events, including Stitches East and Knittin in the Mitten.  I'll be at both, will you?  Make sure you find me and say 'Hi!'

Sunday, September 14, 2014

DenKnits 2.18 Design Feature!

Welcome to DenKnits, where I finally remember to share all the places I am virtually!

Here to talk about the first Finished Object with me is my son, Ethan, for whom is was created...  This is the Easy Crochet Soccer Ball that I crocheted in Red and White for the Man U fan.  The crochet part was easy, piecing together was not, until I found this project with a schematic photo!  I used some leftover Hobby Lobby yarn and G & H hooks.

I also Finished one other item, the KISSy the sheep pattern from Kari, coggietm, of the High Fiber Diet.  I knit mine up in Jojoland Tonic so I had to adjust gauge and needle size down to a US4.  This will be my first finished entry into the KitM KAL using a pattern from an attendee designer!  

The Iris Goddess of Rainbow Shawl is still a Work in Progress.  I am knitting on Clue 3 with my Sheep Dreamery yarn and know I will love my shawl when finished, just wish it were already finished!  This will be a KitM KAL entry as well since the yarn was purchased there last year.

I've also put some Work into the Bender inspired hat that has been ordered from me.  It just looks like a regular hat now but soon will take shape into the Futurama character!

Needing something simple to take with me, I cast on some socks again!  These are my usual sock formula, usual sock needle and Highland Handmades Sugar Maple Sock yarn.  It is a colorway called Haven which was created for the KitM retreat last year, so it's another entry into the KAL :-)

In BIG designing news... I will be attending, however briefly, STITCHES EAST!  The ladies at Darn Good Yarn were invited to come with a fashion show item and they extended that to me :-)  I am excited to not only have a MODEL wear an item I knit, on a runway, in front of lots of people... I also get to FINALLY meet Nicole and Maggie in person!  Having worked with them virtually for over a year I am looking forward to spending a bit of time with them.

However... sadly I realized that Stitches coincides with Spinzilla.  As a member of the Happy Fuzzy Yarn team I not only got a discount for the fiber I purchased at Michigan Fiber Fest, I also get to use the discount until Spinzilla... so I ordered a few more braids :-)  I plan to spin up one braid on my wheel, hopefully finishing at least singles over Mon and Tues.  Then I'll have to work out some spinning time on the road using my Turkish and work up at least one more braid.  You can still join in the fun on this or any other team with openings until Sept 22 or go as a Rogue spinner until Oct 3.

Since it's a new month and I've noticed an increase in the number of shared projects, I think you like this prize drawing method!  Everyone who shares a finished object gets their name put in the draw and if you have more than 5 items shared you'll get another entry!  This month's winner is sehepworth!  Congrats Sarah, love seeing all the socks you've been making :-)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

DenKnits 2.17 I loved it so much I needed to cast on

Two of my most recent spinning projects quickly turned into knitting projects this time around!

Works in Progress - WIPs

Finished Objects - FOs
Spinning DVDs - DriveBy Review
Bergere de France - Yarn sample book
  • Get your own free catalouge that includes
    • Images of their patterns
    • Tools and notions
    • Images of their yarns and some pages have real yarn samples!
  • If you like to be inspired or see what's hot next check this great freebie out!
  • A better late than never birthday box from Karen aka stashless aka havfaith
    • Dryer balls with lavender scented sachet - 7 balls keep my super full loads of laundry static free and smelling faintly of lavender (so I can enjoy but the boys won't complain!)
    • Hand sewn bag perfect for a one skein or small skein(s) project as well as sock knitting with cute two colored pull strings
    • Cast on Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor this book is great!  There are images of every cast-on and bind-off from different angles so you can pick one that looks just how you want, either to match or for a design element... And if you think you know all the cast-on or bind-offs you need, it's still useful because of the images!
  • Cable Print bag ordered from SilviSherr of My Pink Boots
    • Larger bag, can hold 3-4 worsted skeins easily and I fit a half sweater in too!  It has a draw string and toggle to keep it closed and excellent craftsmanship.
  • More crochet 'squares' that aren't really square at all from yarnballkiki7, Akhila.  Love them all as usual but one is more intriguing to the novice crocheter in me :-)
Designing - Darn Good Yarn
  • New design on the needles may be a big one!  Out of reclaimed sari silk ribbon, this garment is working up fairly quickly on size 15 needles but I can't share too much yet :-)  
  • I also received several skeins of other yarns that will become designs for Darn Good Yarn very soon!
Thanks for watching and joining me on the Ravelry group and/or subscribing on YouTube!  While I usually try to make the podcast shorter (30 mins or less) I've noticed that my longer eps are being watched by just as many.  So I did not overly edit this one in the hopes that it is enjoyable as it is, even though it's over 30 mins.  I get too much done in two weeks time to consistently be under 30 I guess :-) 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

DenKnits 2.16 Fun to be judged

FOs (Finished Objects)

  • 3 comfort blankets from bulky/super bulky yarn held double and knit with size 36 needles, take about 2 evenings to finish a blanket (sorry no pics and already gifted)
  • Leaf Lace Scarf from Darn Good Yarn Silk Cloud, my own design
  • Bonny by Tin Can Knits out of Dragonfly Fibers lace weight
WIPs (Works in Progress)

Acquisition - Spin to Knit by Shannon Okey, package deal for hardcopy of the older version, e-copy of the update when available and entry into a drawing all for $10!

  • Handspun Skein Competition
    • I'd never done or watched anything like this before so I went whole hog and entered as many categories as I could, which was 5 out of the 8 available.  Because I learned to spin fairly recently I was in the novice level, there were also intermediate and advanced levels.  I watched the whole judging process, which may be different for every event, but I've reviewed it all for you.  I'd never really seen anyone go into detail on how it works before so I thought it could be helpful for someone and perhaps interesting to others.  I ended up with four ribbons, three 1st place and one 3rd place!
  • Emily of Fiber Addiction had my designs and sample knitting at her booth, I also got to meet her in person officially
  • Emily from Bricolage Studios was in the same tent so I stopped by to say hi and let her know I submitted a skein I spun from her batt into the competition
  • Meet up with KaRi and Lorrie, ran into Dena and Jill and hung out in Jenna's booth, Uniquely Yours
    • Made my own batt using Jenna's drum carder out of Alpaca, BFL, Firestar and Silk Noil, this was probably the most fun!!!
  • Also found Bethany and her daughters and got to see my Tulip Top design 'in the wild' as her daughter was wearing the version she had test knit for me :-)  
  • Acquisitions - This year's plan was FIBER!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

2.15 Distracted

Welcome to August!  Hope you were able to take advantage of the free patterns, they're back as paid patterns.  The Scrappy Stripes will now come with matching mitts and Asymmetricowl is still on Ravelry but will also be available as a kit in my store soon!

Finished Objects - DGY Chiffon Ribbon Vest, my own design and I haven't even made a project page!                            - Comfort Blanket ASAP also my own design but there is a project page :-)

Works in Progress - Bonny and Harvest by TinCanKnits are still going
                              - Leaf Lace Scarf I'm designing out of DGY Silk Cloud

Crochet - Granny squares and some other experiments

You can find the story behind the new wheel here.  I spun up some DGY Alpaca Roving and a batt from Joanna of KnitSpinFarm.  Next up I'm going to finish the TreLiz fiber!

Designing - My work for Emily of FiberAddication was at Wool and Wine (or Wine and Wool?) last weekend and the new hat pattern, 'Rock On!' is available now on Ravelry!

Shared Objects Drawing - Another random drawing from group members who shared their finished objects with us!  I had to cut some out and turn the volume down when I was drawing because my dog was barking but I did do it honestly!

Went a Courtin' Cowl Drawing - CoggieTM from The High Fiber Diet has generously offered up her new pattern to one lucky winner!  See the thread in the Ravelry group for the prompt.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Wheel Fairy

When I began knitting I didn't feel like I needed a group and didn't seek anything out.  Eventually I did appreciate the virtual ways knitters get together, either via podcasts or board chatting on Ravelry.  As I became more involved in the virtual I also started seeking out groups that met near me.  My local library had a nice group that met twice monthly but it slowly feel apart when it lost it's library support.  

The greatest way I've met knitters has been through Instagram.  Not too long after I joined, mostly to use the pic editing options, I thought to look for knitting pics.  Soon it seemed to me that knitters (crochet and spinning too!) had taken over!  Now I was chatting with names in the craft that were big!  

I finally took a step outside my comfort zone and went to a knitting retreat, Knitting in the Mitten (KitM).  I'd talked virtually with people who would be there so I felt like I knew them.  I only went for one day but that was enough to get to know some great people.  

One of the people I'd been lucky enough to met was KaRi.  She occasionally held a knit group at her house.  It was a little drive for me but I decided to go, then she let me in on some news.  She wouldn't be able to use her spinning wheel for several months and wanted to loan it to me!  What a dream!  A ladybug wheel with all the accessories I could ever imagine.  So I put spinning at the top of my to do and now at about 3 mos in I've finished 10 skeins.  

I'm always saving and trying to get to a point where a wheel I liked could be purchased.  Checking craigslist and eBay, finally thinking maybe a new wheel would be necessary.  

Then someone posted a wheel available on a Ravelry board and KaRi brought it to my attention.  Little did I know she did more than that.

I got in touch with the person destashing the wheel.  I saw pics and knew what it was worth with all the accessories.  It was going to be a squeeze getting that amount together on short notice but I thought I'd come up with a plan.  We talked on the phone for what I thought was arranging for me to try the wheel.  First, she told me this lovely story of how she came to have this wheel.  I might have some details a bit off because I may have gone into a bit of a shock during this call but I want to record the great story behind this so here it goes...

G knew a woman who had a farm with alpaca (? Sheep?) and she came up with the amazing idea to spin a fleece and knit her a sweater.  But she'd never spun and didn't have a wheel.  She went forward anyway, getting a fleece from the husband and processing it herself.  Then she took the fiber and went to an LYS and said I want to spin this, do you have a wheel I can borrow?  She had no intentions of becoming a spinner...  She spoke with Jo and she said she'd arrange it.  But when G went to pick up the wheel to borrow she got a note saying it was hers to keep.  She never intended to keep it but got to work spinning, planning to return it when she finished.  During the time she was spinning, her daughter had to see a doctor whom she recognized to be Jo's husband.  She brought up the kind act briefly and they went on to the matter at hand.  Months later, G heard that Jo had sadly passed away unexpectedly.  She started trying to get in touch with the family, thinking they'd surely want this piece of Jo back.  Getting no responses, G kept spinning and thinking of ways to get in touch with them, finally trying the husband's number.  A daughter answered and after introductions G told her she felt she needed to return this wheel as she only meant to borrow it.  The daughter told her, no, Jo put the wheel right where she wanted it to be.  Enjoy it, use it once a year and think of Jo as you spin.  Besides, Jo had 7 wheels and it would crush dad to bring back another!  

At some point G and KaRi spoke about me, my love for spinning and the struggle to save enough for this expensive equipment, as a mom with three growing kids.  That's when G became my Wheel Fairy.  Knowing she wouldn't spin, she wanted the wheel to go to a good home.  Somewhere it would be used, appreciated and not sold.  She wanted to just give it to me!  Absolutely refusing any sort of repayment.  

Just like magic, my Wheel Fairy arrived to drop off my (!) wheel.  Thoughtful as she is, she even brought cookies for my kids, who had to put off plans for me to receive this gift.  We chatted a bit and she again told me beautiful tidbits of info about this wheel's story.  We will surely cross paths again!

One of the last stipulations for taking this wheel was that Jo be thought of...  I know people often name their wheels, so it seemed to me the best way I could honor Jo and think of her often was to name my wheel Jo!

So here is Jo, my Ashford Traditional, on her inaugural spin!

The connections we make as knitters, spinners and such, even virtually, can become a community where we share, not just the love for the craft, but the tools as well.

I know when this story started it was perhaps a little difficult to see where it was going, but I hope it makes sense now.

I must also speak a bit about paying it forward.  Lately I've been trying to share the knitting love more.  I finally knit a blanket for charity, I began swapping items with others and giving away prizes on my podcast.  I gave away some of my designs for free and sent yarn & patterns to an amazing woman who knits chemo caps. Now, I know these things aren't necessary connected to my good fortune of having something gifted to me, but it certainly makes it feel more significant.  There are still parts of life that don't seem fair and no matter how much you pay it forward, you just don't feel the return.  But when you're least expecting it, I think it's most likely to happen.