Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Goodbye and Hello!

Hello, friends. This post is to say an official goodbye to Blogger and introduce you to my new web home at

If you follow me here, won't you consider following me there, too? You can also follow my blog on Bloglovin'. Hope to see you in the new space!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Chugging Along

I'm still here, folks, still alive! I've been steadily working behind-the-scenes to develop my new blog at Wordpress. It's coming along quite nicely but these things tend to take much longer than I anticipate. I'm hoping I can finish the crossover by next week. Yay! It's always a strange feeling when I sit down at 9pm and the next time I glance up, I find that it's nearly 2am. Woops. According to a documentary about happiness that I watched, I believe this state of unreality is called "achieving flow" and it's supposed to make me super happy in the long run. Right now, though, it's only served to make me sleep so here's just a bit of quick proof that I'm still keepin' it crafty:

Spinning during dinner making-- HOLLA!   (...did I use that correctly?)
One last thing: I'm going to skip my Inspiration Saturday post tomorrow because I've already transferred old posts to the new blog and don't want to add lots of new material here while I'm cleaning things up over there. If you want to get a jump on adding my new blog to your readers, you can find it here, just remember it's still a WIP and might look a bit wonky for a while. Hopefully I'll have it all ready in time for a new IS post next week!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

IS #34: Trying New Things

Happy Saturday, all! I've returned from a lovely trip to Cape Cod. I had gone with a large group of my friends from college to celebrate 10 years of knowing each other (and yes, that number still freaks me out). It was a great time: fireside smores, lounging by the lake, lots of baby snuggles, group spinning (yes!), and even some whale watching. Pictures of all the good times will follow but first, the souvenir yarn (of course!).

Even though only one or two of us knitted during college (I dabbled but didn't get really into it until grad school), the number of knitters in our group nearly equaled non-knitters on this trip, which was pretty awesome. So of course we visited the nearest yarn store, Adventures in Knitting. The shop happens to be the oldest yarn store on the cape, according to their website, and apparently their previous location had also been reviewed by Clara Parkes.
Mix No. 3, designed by Kristen Ford, image copyright Shibui Knits
When I walked in I saw an interesting shawl on display that I coveted instantly. It was lightweight and ethereal with a simple yet striking design. I'd never before walked into a shop, seen a sample, and purchased the pattern and yarn to replicate it right then and there, but there's a first for everything.

Silk Cloud

The yarns used in the shawl were Shibui Knits Staccatto (2-ply fingering weight, 70% Merino wool / 30% silk) and Shibui Knits Silk Cloud (2-ply laceweight, 60% mohair / 40% silk). You hold both strands together for the thicker/darker stripes then knit with just the laceweight Silk Cloud for the sheer sections. The design couldn't be simpler but I'm really enjoying it.

I've also never knit with mohair before. I've often admired the mohair/silk blends and the fluffy, floaty, wispy projects that result from using them, but felt like I couldn't get over the super fuzzy texture of the mohair halo. However, the halo is a bit more subtle in the Shibui Knits than in some of the other brands I've seen, and I figured why not give it a try. The yarn was an absolute beast to wind and my hands are taking some adjusting to knitting with a barely-there laceweight strand on size US 8 needles, but so far I'm very happy I decided to try something new.

What about you? Try anything new-to-you lately? Been inspired by anything else? Link along below and let us know!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

IS #33: Knitting Along

You know what I think I love most about Ravelry? Knit-alongs. Knit-alongs (KALs) are essentially when a bunch of people choose to knit the same pattern/project/theme/yarn and chat about it. Yes, KALs can occur in real life too, which might even be more fun (I wouldn't know), but they are perfectly enjoyable in the online forum. I think this is because 1) more people are involved, 2) you can check out progress pictures/ask questions/chatter about things anytime you want, 3) you usually find out about a whole bunch of new patterns to add to your queue, and 4) there are often fun prizes involved and hey, who doesn't love a prize. There are two KALs going on this month that I think are great ideas:

1)  SKA August
There is a different KAL every month in the Sock Knitters Anonymous group, but in August they do a great finish-it-up KAL where the goal is to finish as many pairs of socks as possible that had been started prior to July. The goal of finishing up those lingering second socks is particularly attractive to someone with a chronic unfinished-sock-problem, like me.

This might or might not even be all of them. * shame *
Dudes, some of those SIP (socks-in-progress) photos were taken three apartments ago. Granted, not all the photos are up to date, many of the socks are further along than they are shown here, but still. I think I need this KAL, don't you?

2) CY Sea Critters KAL
There is a sea-themed KAL occurring on the Cephalopod Yarns Ravelry board. There aren't many rules for this one, the idea is just to knit some yummy CY/SG yarn into some interesting, oceanic patterns. I'm planning to knit my Dissipative cowl pattern in some of their merino/alpaca/silk blend aran-weight yarn, Beastie, when it arrives.
This yarn is not Beastie, it's Malabrigo.
Syrinx Shells could work for this KAL, too, if you used their Traveller yarn held double or triple to get a super bulky weight. It would also work as a thinner, lighter-weight scarf with two skeins of Beastie. Check out the KAL thread for all sorts of neat nautical patterns.

Do you enjoy KALs? Do you find they help you finish projects or do you end up just starting more to take part in them? Have you been inspired by something lately? Link along below and let us know!

Inspiration Saturday is for sharing whatever has been sparking your creativity this week. Come play along!

Friday, August 2, 2013

My Feelings Exactly

Ever wonder what cats do when you're at work all day? I had a chance to see firsthand as I spent the first of a few upcoming vacation days cleaning house and waiting for my friends to show up. Here's what the cats did:

Calypso, more-or-less conked out.

Darwin, in his favorite belly-to-the-wall lounging position
I think they had the right idea. I was a fairly busy bee most of the day but I did get to spend a solid couple of hours finishing The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (fabulous, heartwrenching book, btw). I can't remember the last time I had that much guilt-free time to just sit, by myself, and quietly read. It was nice and probably good to get it in now before my friends and I get to where we're going: a 10-years-since-we-met-Cornell-'family'-reunion in Cape Cod. I can't wait to see everyone for longer than the timespan of a wedding! So far, we've all gathered together from our various corners of the country once every year since graduation. I love that.

In knitting news, I've been doing my best to work on my Zombie Shawl but life has been intervening. I'm hoping I find time to catch up with things this week. I think I'm going to go with the darker colorway for the lace, thanks for chiming in! Since I have no knitting to show you, have some pretty yarn:

The lovely folks at The Verdant Gryphon periodically get together to have 'drunken dye parties' and then sell the resulting skeins as special, one-off colorways. I had not yet purchased one but was very happy to win this fun skein of Bugga in a lottery on Ravelry!

Happy Friday, everyone. :) My your weekend be as chillaxing as my cats' weekends will likely be.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Relaxation: Succeeded

Finally (finally!) the Fiasco and I had a weekend where we were both off from work and had nothing else pressing that needed doing. For what felt like the first time this summer, we got to spend time together and just relax. So yes, camping was glorious. I took exactly one picture because other than to sporadically check the weather, all technology was blissfully turned off.

But at least I snapped a picture of my knitting! :) This project shall now be referred to as Zombie Shawl since it has been hibernating and resurrected more times than I can count. I cast this thing on in August of 2011... yes, 2011. The pattern is Taygete by Rosemary Hill and it's a lovely design, I don't know why it's been so touch-and-go. I'm using a couple of old SG Bugga colorways: Fig Eater and Dog Days Cicada. It's a great greeny-purple and minty-pale-green combination. My goal is to finish it before we hit the 2 year mark... sigh. At least I'm excited about it again!

I do have a question for you: would you do the lace portion in darker color and the edging in the lighter color (option A), or the lace in the lighter color and the edging in the darker color (option B)? Here are examples I snagged from a couple of gorgeous projects on Ravelry:

Option A, copyright MnM on Ravelry
Option B, copyright paradisepal on Ravelry
They're both gorgeous but it does make quite a change to the look of the shawl and I flip back and forth constantly over which way I'd like to do it. Thoughts?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

IS #32: Into The Woods

Happy Saturday, all! This week's inspiration is nature/the outdoors/the woods because as you're reading this, I've happily unplugged from my computer and have gone off camping for a few days. I love camping and once a year just isn't enough, but I cherish what I can manage to squeeze in. Cross your fingers that the weather holds out! Here are a few fun woods-related knits I found on Ravelry.

Copyright throughtheloops on flickr
This is the Wood Hollow Vest designed by Kristen Kapur. I love the heathered, textured, cable-y goodness of this vest and it makes me think instantly of fall. I'd love to make one and wear it myself but I have yet to find a button-down collared shirt that fits me in any way and can't think of what else I'd layer it with. I feel like the design is a but formal-looking to wear just over a tee...

Copyright knittysticks on flickr
These fabulous things are the Maine Woods & Rivers Mittens designed by Pat Higgens and are offered for free. They have such a great colorwork motif and nice details like the double layered cuff and the corrugated ribbing. They look nice and cozy, too.

Copyright Kalurah on Ravelry
This interesting, oversized hood/cowl combo is Through the Woods... designed by Kalurah. It's completely charming and probably super warm, I'm just not sure I could picture myself actually wearing it... at least not for the short walk from house-car-office. Maybe if I were back in college or living somewhere where I had to walk long distances outdoors in the cold more often than not.

Copyright Emily Ross on Ravelry
And of course there is an explosion of leaf-related patterns on Ravelry but one of my favorite bits of slightly subtle leafy goodness is the Haruni shawl designed by Emily Ross. I started and frogged this one long ago during an overambitious Malabrigo March. I should probably revisit it as it's a gorgeous design.

What's your favorite nature-reminiscent pattern? While we're at it, know of any good campsites or hiking trails in New England?

Also inspiring: this is my 300th post! That's a lot of blogging! To celebrate, all of my patterns are 30% off on Ravelry with the coupon code '300wow' until next Saturday. Just a little inspiration special for my lovely blog readers, but feel free to spread the word to other bloggers who may not have found me yet! :)
Inspiration Saturday is for sharing whatever has been sparking your creativity this week. Please link along below!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dappled Shade

This colorway is so aptly named, it makes me happy inside.

This lovely braid of top from Miss Babs was a complete impulse buy since Miss Babs was one of the sponsors for Tour-de-Sock and there was a discount. It was a 'babbette' colorway meaning it was a one-off, not regularly produced, which are easy to fall in love the Apple Blossom colorway or the Don't Stop one. So subtle and pretty!

I've apparently gotten hooked on this spin-a-little-bit-every-day thing and started spinning this Merino/bamboo/silk blend up almost as soon as I finished my Tour de Fleece skeins. I had no plan when I began, just enjoyed the feel of the silky-soft fiber in my hands, but now I've come up with an idea!

I'm going to make some art yarn with it! Specifically, I'm going to try a crepe yarn, like the ones featured above in this photo from The Spinner's Book of Yarn Design, which I wrote all about for one of my Inspiration Saturday posts. I have a bunch of merino/silk top that will pair nicely with the single I'm spinning now. Exciting!

In other news, today was the Fiasco's birthday. He unfortunately had to work all day (and it was a terrible day at work) so we only had a small bit of time to spend together. Then he conked out to Kermit the Frog singing "The Rainbow Connection" in Jason Segel's The Muppets. He might get old but I'm pretty sure he won't grow up. :)

Hope you're having a wonderful week! I'm hoping to catch up with blogs again soon. I'm linking up today with Sarah's spinning post at Crafts from the Cwtch, if you'd like to read more fiber-y goodness.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I'm Counting It

At 12:23 am I finished plying this beautiful blue gem of a skein:

This is the second skein of Bluefaced Leicester wool from the June Pryce Fiber Arts gradient-dyed kit I've been spinning for Tour de Fleece. It worked up to a DK-ish weight 3-ply with 270 yards, which is exactly the same as the first skein! So that worked out nicely.

I love love love  the blues in this skein and the way they swirl together when laid like this. Love. The colors are just beautiful. Even better, they were dyed by a woman who is practically my neighbor and is part of my spinner's guild and knit night! I had lots of fun with this kit and feel like I've finally gotten good with chain-plying on the wheel and fixing problems (like when the single breaks). Two braids (8 oz.) were dyed in complimentary gradients with the idea that they would then be knit into something like the Noro striped scarf.

The blue skein still needs its bath, you can see how much longer it looks than the green/purple skein. It'll spring back a bit after a wash. I'm thinking I might use my skeins for Lee Meredith's Waving Chevron Scarf, I like the shape of it, but I'm not sure how it'll look with using 2 colors instead of 3.

Copyright leethal, from Ravelry pattern page
I'll have to swatch and see. :) But that's getting ahead of myself. For now I'm just happy that I made 8/9ths of my Tour de Fleece goals! Even though I finished a few minutes past midnight, I'm still counting it! I'm sad I didn't achieve my extra-special-gold-star-challenge of spinning an ounce of my still-currently-unwashed fleece, but I just did not have a free weekend with good weather to do the washing. Hopefully one will come around soon. For now, yay for Tour de Fleece!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

IS #31: Rather Uninspired

I'm sneaking in under the wire with a rather uninspiring Inspiration Saturday post. I have a couple of friends visiting from out of town this weekend and failed to plan ahead with a post! I've had another plan-ahead-failure, too:

So close yet so far...
After requesting leftovers from fellow Rockin' Sock Club members of one of last year's club colorways (Budding Twig) for my Budding Lintilla shawl so I could make it larger, I still ran out of yarn. The pattern is an asymmetrical sideways-knit shawlette that is pretty customizable. You basically knit until you have a particular percentage of yarn left and then start the edging. While I weighed and measured, I was cutting it a bit close and using larger needles than the pattern called for, so I lost the game of yardage chicken with a mere handful of rows to go. I hate that! Such a letdown! Thankfully, knitters are nice people and Ravelers are particularly awesome so I have a few more leftovers winging my way here to save the day. Yay!

What's been inspiring you lately? Link along below and let us know!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Plying Is Magic

Every time I spin, I am delighted by the magic of plying. You take this weird, lumpy, wiry little single of spun fiber and transform it into beautiful, fluffy, real and usable yarn.

This is the BFL fiber I've been working on for Tour de Fleece. I spun the gradient-dyed braid worsted style and chain-plied it to preserve the color changes. It's about 270 yards of DK-ish weight (I always forget to measure wpi before I skein it up... woops). I love the way the colors blend into each other and am excited to see it knit up. This skein represents about half of my TdF goals. I've been spinning up the second braid of the gradient kit, as well.

I only have about 2 oz of fiber left to spin. That bobbin on the left is driving me crazy: I can't find the end of my yarn. The single broke during spinning and the end concealed itself most thoroughly on the bobbin. I was so frustrated I just started a new bobbin but I'm going to have to find the end eventually! Any tips? I already resorted to taking packing tape to the single and trying to lift the end up like lint. It didn't work.

Darwin approves of the new yarn. This is his stealthy "I look all innocent but turn your back for a second and that yarn will be mine" attack mode. Little devil.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

IS #30: Hot Guys in Sweaters

Brooklyn Tweed (a company which has inspired me before) has just put out a series of patterns specifically for men. Rugged texture, twining cables, beards of hotness and glasses and ribbing galore. Need I say more?

Copyright Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed
How about Jared Flood's Timberline cardigan? Yes, please. Yes. I'm a crazy sucker for a guy in a cardigan, which is kind of weird because the Fiasco doesn't even own one (he's a plain pullover man). The cables on this thing are just fabulous.

See? <3 br="">
As an aside, Jason Segal's character in I Love You Man pulls off the cardigan look especially well. Then there's Hugo by Veronik Avery, which has really wonderful texture:

Copyright Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed
And finally, let's not forget Slade by Michele Wang, which I could just curl right up in (the cozy-looking sweater, of course):

Copyright Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed
You can find the whole BT Men collection of patterns on Ravelry here. You're welcome. ;)

What's been inspiring you lately?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

WIPWed #29: Treadling Along

I am happy to announce that while my spinning and knitting lately have not been very speedy, they have been fairly steady. I made a good bit of progress on my Tour de Fleece spinning, 4 oz of the BFL gradient kit I'm working up have been spun into singles and I'm ready to start the second half of the kit later tonight.

Ah, I love a full bobbin!
With all my home time taken up with spinning, my knitting has been fairly monogamous. I've only really been working on my travel knitting (sock) and meeting knitting (shawl).

CY Skinny Bugga
I'm still slowly striping my way through the Tour-de-Sock pattern from the last round. I was nearly finished with it last week but started the band of colorwork on the foot too late so it was all the way down near the toe and I hated it, so I frogged back. Nothing like making the sock foot slog last twice as long! It was worth it, though.

BMFA Socks That Rock Mediumweight
My sweet and spring-y Budding Lintilla shawl is nearing its end. That little ball on the left is the last of the original skein. I will continue through the end of it then use the additional leftovers that a couple of lovely Ravelers sent me to work the edging of the shawl. I'm excited to see how this will turn out!

Finally, I just wanted to say that I apologize for not being around to comment much lately. I'm working on transferring my blog from blogger to Wordpress as I dislike the changes blogger has been making and I want a fresh start. Much of my limited inside-time has been and will be spent on setting up the new blog for a little bit. I hope you'll come visit me at my new place when it's ready!

Also, check out more WIPs by clicking below. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Progress and Surprise

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend! Mine was very busy and full of sun, waves, and family (as it should be). It also involved a wonderful surprise as I found this little beauty waiting for me in the mail:

That's a handwoven wool shawl that I had entered a raffle ticket to win way back in March when I went to Woolapalooza at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, Massachusetts. To say that I was excited and that I love this thing are understatements. It's fabulous! The tag doesn't specify what breed of sheep the wool is from but it is bouncy, lightweight, a little bit 'crunchy', and warm. The woven pattern is just gorgeous, too.

It reminds me very much of the mitered squares that you see in sock blankets everywhere. I love it and wish very much that I could thank the weaver personally.

I've been doing more than just basking in the glow of unexpected woolen finery, however. I've been working on spinning up my own but of beauty, too:

I'm making steady progress on my June Pryce Fiber Arts gradient-dyed BFL kit for Tour de Fleece. I started with purple, have progressed through the purply blue, finished the blue, worked through the blue-ish green bits, and am now beginning the final solid green third of the braid. I am really loving working with BFL wool. It's been light and lofty to spin and as a longwool has a nice silky hand while remaining very soft. It's also the first fiber I've been able to spin worsted-style successfully, letting the twist pull just from one end of the top. I've always had to spin top over the fold to get a consistent single (not sure why, it always felt like it got 'stuck' in my hands any other way) but with the longer, silkier fibers of BFL I haven't had any trouble drafting in the more controlled worsted style. I've found my spinning groove again and am excited to see how this plies up!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

IS #29: Fiber Factor Challenge 2

Hi folks! This is a quickie, drive-by kind of Inspiration Saturday post since my parents are visiting and it's been a busy week. That said, have you checked out the results for the second challenge of The Fiber Factor? The second challenge was to knit a boxy sweater and involve colorwork somehow. I'm amazed by all the different styles that resulted! I also thought it was funny how there were similar color schemes in many of them. Lots of mustard yellows and ketchup reds. I liked many of the designs, but my absolute favorite was Lauren Riker's design.

Copyright The Fiber Factor
She somehow took a boxy, bland shape and made it freakin' adorable. I love the color scheme, the little hearts, the cables... everything. And the back is super fun:

I love the gradient! So much! Anyway, that's all I have time for today. What's been inspiring you lately? Hope you're having a great holiday weekend!

Monday, July 1, 2013


I'll admit: I knew this would happen. Signing up for both Tour-de-Sock and Tour de Fleece which co-occur over June & July... there was no way I'd keep up with both plus regular life. No way, especially since it's summer when I limit my inside-sitting-down-time. My 3rd TdS sock is about where it was on Friday, with some more of the foot done. I've decided not to even cast on the 4th TdS pattern because it involves about a million beads and I'm just not that interested in it. I'd much prefer to finish one of the pretty pairs I've already begun. And my Tour de Fleece spinning? Well...

I forgot. Totally. In my mind, the thing started July 1st. Nope! I'm 2 days behind before I've even started! To make it worse, the last half of June was so rainy I have yet to get around to washing my first fleece, which consitutes a portion of my TdF goals. Since it's my blog, I reserve the right to amend my goals:
  1. Spin for at least 15 minutes every day (which I will begin tonight!).
  2. Finish two skeins (8 oz) of gradient-dyed BFL from June Pryce Fiber Arts on my wheel.
  3. Extra-special-gold-star-challenge: Wash, process, and spin 1 oz of wool from my first fleece.
That's still a hefty 9 oz of spinning to finish over the next 3 weeks so I'll be very happy if I complete it.

Would you like to see why I totally forgot about the TdF this past weekend?

Love. That. Shirt.
I was too busy fawning over spending quality time with my nephews, Liam and Logan, 2.5 years and 2 weeks old, respectively. And with those adorable faces, can you blame me for forgetting to spin?

The teasing can never start too early.
:-D I miss the little boogers already!