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Archive for the ‘Fiber Collecting’ Category

Laura has has released her latest and greatest sock pattern and get ready to add this one to your queue. It’s named Algernon after Oscar Wilder’s character in The Importance of Being Earnest, and I must confess, I’m in love with Algernon.

Pattern: Algernon by Laura Patterson
Source: Fiber Dreams and Ravelry
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Cranberry (2 skeins)
Needles: Knit Picks Circular 2.5 mm / US 1.5
Raveled Here

When I originally saw the chart for this sock, I kept rechecking to make sure this was a Laura Patterson design and not a Cookie A design. Anyone who has knit a Cookie pattern knows that some of her charts can make your eyes pop out of your head. However, I say that with the greatest of respect for her designs. Then, I started knitting it and realized that although the chart looked daunting, it wasn’t. It’s absolutely brilliant and I think one of the most beautiful cable motifs I’ve knit in a long time. Can’t you just picture this on a beautiful sweater or pair of mitts?

The main cable motif runs down just the front of the leg and top of the foot.

The other cable motif is repeated in three sections around the sides and back of the leg. There’s also a little tiny 1×1 twisted cable that separates each cable motif section. It’s so cute and oh so easy to do without a cable needle.

I personally was able to work all the cables without a cable needle which is a wonderful thing and I really only had to pay semi close attention to the main cable on the top of the leg and foot. The other cable was easily memorized and the socks were a complete joy to knit. I’m going to give Laura a big Bravo on this pattern.

Although the Posh Yarn Laura used on the original is heavenly to the touch, I really liked The Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn because I thought it showed the stitch detail beautifully. In fact, it worked out so well, that I went to The Loopy Ewe and used my birthday gift card from Laura to purchase more, along with some Noro Silk Garden Sock.

I also may have added some fiber to my order. After all, I needed to spend enough to get the free shipping.

From Left to Right:

  • The Sanguine Gryphon Handpainted Merino Silk; 4 ounces; Madame Riviere
  • Gale’s Art Black BFL; 4 ounces; Stormy Sea
  • Scarlett O’Hara Merino Bamboo; 4 ounces; Sweet Sheri

I have so much other FO knitting and spinning to share with you, but this post is already too long, so you’ll just have to wait. 🙂

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On Thursday, July 10th, I took another step on the birthday hill and I can see the top so clearly, that I’m ready to start walking backwards. No really, I must admit I’m a bit sad to hit 39 years old, but that’s only because my 30’s have been my best years ever!

Since my father’s retirement party was in southern Idaho the day after my birthday, we left on July 8th for our drive from Southern California to Southern Idaho. The drive through southern Utah is so beautiful and I just love this red rock that is everywhere.

Originally I was very worried about the 14 hour drive to my parents home and since fuel costs are so high, we really couldn’t afford to stop and stay at a hotel. I was especially concerned because with my fibromyalgia, you just never know how a lengthy car ride is going to be. Thankfully, my most amazing friend Laura came to the rescue and allowed us use of her timeshare points to stay at the Cedar Breaks Lodge in Brian Head, Utah.

Miraculously the lodge was exactly the midpoint in our trip, so we stayed there the night of the 8th and woke the following day to this beautiful view.

The lodge sits at the base of the Brian Head Ski Resort and I can just picture this all covered in snow. It must be beautiful.

The following day, July 10th, had an auspicious start (that’s a whole other story), but at noon I was surprised by getting to visit the local fiber farm, Hartwell’s Lazy PJ Ranch.

Hubby gave me a card with a bunch of money in it to spend at the fiber farm, and so I got some superwash merino and soysilk fiber, a latern moon spinning basket, some back issues of Spin-Off magazine and a beautiful Gita Marie orifice hook.

Of course the batteries on my camera died. So, I was at the mercy of my mother’s picture taking skills. I won’t humiliate myself with showing the photos of my eyes closed and my tongue sticking out, but I do have this photo of me with a suri alpaca.

After the fiber farm, we had lunch at the local Mexican restaurant and later that day I received a few gifts. My favorite one was this “cake” my sister made me.

It’s a pile of the most delicious chocolate frosting ever with 3 balls of marzipan yarn in the center. I know she was disappointed that she didn’t have time to make me a “real” cake, but she was so busy making the retirement cake for my dad, that I asked her not to make one for me. After that candle was blown out, I asked for a package of graham crackers and scooped up piles of frosting on them. Mmmm …. my favorite.

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Thanks to one of my wonderful blog readers, (anyone want to fess up?) they clicked on one of The Loopy Ewe links from my blog site, and then set up an account and purchased something. The Loopy Ewe gave me a credit for that, so of course I spent it (and then some). Now in my fiber and yarn stash I have a little more fiber:

Merino Mother of Pearl

The Dyeing Arts
100% Superwash Merino Wool
4 ounces
colorway: Mother of Pearl
lot: 041408

And a little more yarn

Rio de la Plata sock multicolor

Rio de la Plata: Sock Multicolor
colorway: SP32
437 yards of fingering weight
According to the tag, the colors in this yarn are Wood Thrush, Crimson, Posy Green, Chestnut, Indian Teal, and Black. Personally, I just like that it looks handspun.

Dream in Color Baby Gothic Rose

Dream in Color: Baby
colorway: Gothic Rose VB340
700 yards of lace weight

I have a few project around here that I’m tying up loose ends on, so in the FO department, this is all you get for now.

Hearts Dishcloth

Project: Be My Dishcloth by Kristen Patay (Ravelry)
Yarn: Lily Sugar ‘n Cream Solid in Cream
Needles: Knit Picks Circular 3.25 mm / US 3

Of course this would look much better blocked, but to distract you from that, I’m going to send you off to Kristen’s Ravelry design page to check out her other dishcloth patterns. There’s not many there so I sure hope she adds more to her collection soon.

Although this dishcloth is cute, I must say I have favorites and they are this one and that one. In fact, I liked them so much, I kept them for myself. Anyone care to share their favorite dishcloth pattern?

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Remember when Carole sent my that wonderful “welcome to spinning” package? Well, the welcome wagon has hit again and this time I received a package from Micki. I must confess I was half expecting to receive a package from her. She’d spun this beautiful pink, gold and white yarn and commented that she didn’t really like it. Of course I volunteered to take it off her hands and so she came up with a swap idea. If she sent me this yarn that she’d spun, then in the future I’d send her a skein of yarn I’d spun. It sounded like the perfect plan.

But when the package arrived, it was kind of fat. How could this only be one skein of yarn? Well, it wasn’t.

The first thing I found in the package was this beautiful fiber from Copperpot Woolies. It’s a fluffy and soft 4.2 ounces of merino and the colorway is called Beyond the Realm.

Merino Roving

Next came another stunning fiber from PigeonRoof Studios. It’s got amazing color variations and is 4.1 ounces of corriedale in a colorway called Dovecote.

Corriedale Roving

Last, and best of all, was Micki’s very own handspun, but this was not the handspun we’d agreed on for our swap. This handspun is made from fiber made at Crown Mountain Farms. This makes it especially precious because the Sock Hop Yarn from CMF is what started my interest in spinning. This is 360 yards of fingering weight 100% superwash merino (111 grams) in the colorway Good Vibrations.

Good Vibrations from Micki

Micki has only been spinning for about 6 months (if that) and this yarn is perfect. No, really it is. As soon as I can spin yarn that looks this good, then I’ll fulfill my end of the swap. Is a year or two too long? 😉

Good Vibrations from Micki

In knitting news, I actually have been knitting. Unfortunately, I’ve been sample knitting for designers so I’m unable to share any photos until the patterns are released.

The one thing I have been madly working on since returning from vacation is this beautiful stole designed by my friend Laura. I’m honored to once again be asked to test-knit it (or did I *tell* her I was test knitting it?), but it was until yesterday that I noticed this:

Dulcavina stole

When I put the two shawl ends together, one end of the shawl is much lighter in color than the other end. Obviously one skein of the Malabrigo got a lot more of the deep blue than the first skein I used. Drat. I’m not ripping back though. It’s going to be a design element.

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A few weeks ago, my wonderful friend Carole surprised me with a package of rovings and a sweet card welcoming me to the world of spinning. The roving I noticed immediately was this one:

Hand-Dyed Wool Roving

This is 100% Wool (label doesn’t say what kind of wool) from Knit One Spin Two. Although the natural BFL I showed in my last post was easy to spin, the bright green color of this roving could be seen clearly which makes it perfect for the beginning spinner. I know personally how much it helped me spin more consistent singles. I’ve only spun one bobbin of this and I think I may use it a practice to try Navajo Plying.

Bright Green Singles

Also included in the package was 4 ounces of this amazing merino/bamboo fiber hand dyed by Spunky Eclectic. The colorway is Walking on the Sun, and it’s even more beautiful in person. I haven’t spun it up yet, because I’m not sure how different spinning the bamboo fiber will be. I’d like to have a bit more practice with the BFL and Corriedale I have in my fiber stash so that I don’t waste a bit of this.

Merino / Bamboo fiber

Since the first day, I have been inspired by the stunning yarn that Micki has been spinning on her Lendrum wheel. She has been enabling helping me by making recommendations of where I can purchase beautiful rovings to spin. Within the matter of a few days, my doorstep was no longer being graced with packages filled with yarn, but with packages of rovings from Paradise Fibers, Wolly Treasures, and Crown Mountain Farms. I’ve already started spinning the fiber from Paradise Fibers, which is 4 ounces of this beautiful Ashland Bay merino top in the Forest colorway.

Merino Top fiber

Photos of the other rovings will be shared as I spin them, but for those of you who don’t want to wait, check out my Flickr Spinning Set.

I know it’s hard to tell, but lately there has been more knitting going on around here than spinning. The problem is, I can’t show you everything I’ve been knitting. The only project I can show you is the beautiful blue blob which is another test-knit for my friend Laura. The project doesn’t have a name quite yet, and there will be two other knitters joining in, but since I was waiting for my sample knit pattern to arrive, I cast on and knit this as quick as I could. I’m only halfway through the stole, not including the border, but I have to stop now and work on the sample knits so it will look like this for a few weeks I’m afraid. By the way, this is Malabrigo Lace yarn in Taureg, and it’s every bit as soft as the Malabrigo worsted in my stash. Do you know how tempting it is to knit lace undergarments in this?
(No Name)
The knitting items I can’t show you are my sample knits. I met the designer at TNNA and told her I’d be thrilled to test or sample knit for her and after some email correspondence that followed, she agreed to send me a sample to knit as a trial to see how well we worked together and more obviously how well I could or couldn’t knit. When she received the first sample knit she said she loved it and asked if I could do two more for her this month. I feel so flattered and lucky to have this opportunity, and it has given my “cute knitting hobby” some credibility with family and friends since now I’m being paid to sample knit. Unfortunately for you, there will be no photos until the designs have been released.

So currently I have two sock samples due by the end of this month and I’m trying to get them both finished before next Friday when I leave on vacation for 10 days. I’ve also made it to the next round of Sock Madness and the next round starts tonight. In fact the email with the pattern should be arriving in my inbox at anytime. Oh crap, that reminds me, I’ve got to go wind those skeins of yarn which might take a minute or two or twenty since this round is a pair of socks in laceweight yarn in two different colorways. Yikes! Don’t even get me started on how much house cleaning, vacation preparation, emails, and voice mails that are being neglected. Aren’t you surprised I found time to squeeze in another blog post so soon? I’m still in my pajamas though if that gives you any clue as to what got skipped today so that a blog post could be written. You’re all worth it.

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About a month ago, my beautiful spinning wheel was christened when I had my first spinning lesson from Lori Lawson of Capistrano Fiber Arts. Lori made me feel at ease instantly, and since I’d practiced treadling slow and steady for a few days, the only thing I really had to pay attention to were my hands. I’m not sure how to describe the feeling of spinning yarn other than to say it was magical. I was a bit surprised that it felt semi-natural, like it was something I had done before. The only thing I can equate it to is the feeling you get when you do something that you learned many years ago, but haven’t done in a long time, like riding a bike. At first it feels a bit awkward trying to remember about the balancing and steering and pedaling, but after a few minutes of riding, it all comes back to you. That’s what spinning for the first time felt like to me.

I credit most of my ease to Lori, because I really believe that if you have good equipment and a good instructor, you’ll learn a lot quicker and easier. Lori is an amazing instructor and after seeing her beautiful dyeing, spinning and knitting, I knew I was learning from a master artist. In fact, if you’re looking for beautifully hand-dyed fiber (yarn and roving) or handspun yarn from her hand-dyed roving, check out her etsy site.

At the end of my first day of spinning, I had this:

First Handspun Single Day 1

And at the end of the second day of spinning, I had this:

First Handspun Single Day 2

And then, when I filled another bobbin and plied them together, I got this:

First Handspun

Fiber: BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) in Natural
2 ply
330 yards
90 grams

First Handspun

It’s obviously not perfect, but it is my first handspun so I’m proud of it. It’s also not quite thin enough to be sock yarn, although it is close. I have no idea what to do with it though. Right now it’s sitting on the bookcase attached to my desk. For those of you who spin, what did you do with your first handspun? What do all of you knitters think I should do with mine?

And before I forget, I’m going to try and post a couple of times this week and next to try and get caught up. I have so many things to show and tell you, but if I don’t get them all posted here before I go on vacation in 10 days, they’ll probably never get shared.

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