Wha-bam! FO!

In the running for fastest FO in recent memory: The Shetland Triangle.

Well, hello there, beautiful!

Maybe it was my mood, maybe it’s just the pattern, maybe it was the US 6 needles, maybe it was my undying love for this yarn…whatever it was, this baby flew! The only reason it wasn’t finished sooner was because I had to wait for the blocking wires to show. Well, they did…

Ahhh, how do I love thee, blocking wires? Let me count the ways…

…and now I must profess my newfound enfatuation with my blocking wires. They’re FANTASTIC. How did I ever, ever block lace without them?? They make the points so nice and…pointy. They make the symmetry so nice and…symmetrical. They make the lace so nice and…lacy. They were easy to slip through the eyelets, and they helped the piece dry so quickly. Just…ah…there are no words…so awesome…

Pretty little fir cone swirls

The piece itself is drapy, yet substantial. Pleione ended up being more thick-and-thin than I realized while it was in the skein, but it really didn’t matter for this project. Everything, from the quality of the handspun to the color variation in the fiber blend, just worked out better than I ever could have hoped. It’s just a teensy bit scratchy on my wool-sensitive neck, but it’s tolerable…which is good, because I don’t think I could give this one up if I wanted to.

I heart you, Shetland Triangle

Up next: Another FO! Using handspun! Including this handspun…

Ummmm….cashmere….

…because cashmere is a girl’s best friend!

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Just Keep Knitting, Sewing…You Know, Whatever

What do you do when your whole life blows up in your face, when everything you had planned falls apart?

Well, you find ways to laugh, you focus on the positive, you pick up the pieces and you move on. And you try to find ways to cope with massive amounts of nervous energy.

Holy hand-sewn project bags, Batman!

In my case, much crafting has ensued in the past few days since everything I believed in for my life fell apart. There’s been much knitting , less spinning and actually a whole lot of sewing, which does take some explaination.

I decided that, if I was going to knit lace out of some very special handspun, I’d better quote a fabulous member of my SnB and “Go big or go home.” So, I placed my very first Knitpicks order, which included blocking wires and foam tiles. Well, everything is shipping seperately, which is perplexing on its own, so the wires aren’t here yet, but the tiles showed up.

Hi! We make blocking awesome!

Yeah, they showed up just like that: all naked in a box. So, of course, they need a bag to be stored in. Out came the sewing machine and out came this:

It’s all in the presentation

Silk brocade, some old stashed suiting material, black thread and a ribbon: Voila!

Well, once I had the machine out, I just couldn’t stop! I took a look at my stash of fat quarters and decided it was time to bust out a whole bunch of knitting and spinning project bags to further my goal of eliminating plastic from my knitting basket.

Already being put to good use

Such cute patterned fabric, such instant gratification. Sure the seams are a little wonky on a couple, but I don’t claim to be a seamstress. These just make me so happy!

On the knitting front, I cast on, cast off and wove end in on the shetland triangle all within a matter of days. I haven’t had a project go that fast in a long, long time, and this was perfect for my frame of mind this week.

Hello there, handspun lace

A proper posting when those wires finally show up and this lovely gets a proper block.

On a personal note, I’m actually doing quite well despite all the ick I’ve had happen very recently, far better than I should probably be. And thank goodness for friends and hobbies; they make the worst things so much easier to cope with.

From Silk to Yak

Between being sick and caring for my poor little wee fluffball, who did a number on her back last week, I’ve missed more than a little time at work and I’ve had more than a little couch time.

My poor medicated Madori…

So, in between naps and medicating and trips to the doctor and trips to the vet, I’ve managed to get some significant fiber work accomplished.

First, I finished “Soleil,” the two ounces of tussah silk top that I got from Shadeyside Farm at Rhinebeck in 2008. And I’m ridiculously proud of the final yarn.

A solar flare of silk
A solar flare of silk

It’s 379 yards of light fingering weight, Navajo plied, and I believe it’s my most evenly spun yarn yet. It’s also a testament to the practice I’ve put into my Navajo plying. No chain bumps here!

I just love me some silk

Not sure what Soleil’s going to be yet. I’m still trying to decide how I can best show off this colorway, especially since it’s going to stripe. But for now, I’m just really enjoying admiring it. And man, I just love working with silk tops!

I turned this delicious 2 ounce bump of 50/50 blend of merino and brown yak fiber from the Yarn Tree in Brooklyn, NY

Ummmm…yak….

…into this 265-yard hank of light fingering Navajo plied loveliness.

Yakkety-yak….

This was a challenge to spin. It was my first time working with a short-stapled fiber, and even with the merino in the blend, it was still a painstaking process that took a lot of concentration while working with it. It was also my first time using my Kundert spindle, which I did enjoy. It spins like nothing I’ve ever seen, however, the tapered shaft was a little problematic. A couple times, the fine single broke and the spindle dropped…and the cop slid right off the spindle. I was able to slide it back on and didn’t lose any yardage or get any tangles, but it was traumatic. A good lesson for using this spindle.

Despite the learning curve, the final yarn is soft and squishy and just naturally beautiful. I love how the natural verigation in the merino and yak play with each other throughout the hank.

So pretty…

This is destined to be the main color in Selbu Modern (Rav link), with a contrast of some similar weight single-ounce handspun cashmere down that I finished plying last night. More on that after it gets a nice bath.

I also finished a new sweater, started a Shetland Triangle (Rav link) out of some of my ribbon-winning handspun and started a new pair of very funky socks. Stay tuned!

Rhinebeck 2009!

Another event kept me from the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck this year, and I’m sorry I missed it. Despite that, I did some representing at Rhinebeck…and Rhinebeck was good to me!
Yay!!

I sent four handspun skeins to Rhinebeck, and three of them came home with pretty pretty ribbons. This was my first time competing in a fiber festival, and I don’t believe it’ll be my last!

And now for the winners…

Cloud Nine took fifth place in the Novelty Skein class!

Yay, Cloud Nine!!

My beloved Pleione took second place in the Blended Skein class!

Yay, Pleione!

And Purple Passion took first place in the Novice Skein class!

Yay, Purple Passion!

I finished Purple Passion only a couple weeks before I sent in my entry, so it never got a mention here until now. This is a monster 610-yarn skein from 4.1 ounces of punta wool and mohair-blend mill ends from FiberFancy.

Adored this spin!

I couldn’t put the spindle down with this, it was so much fun. Beautiful color, drafted beautifully, a real joy to spin.

Lovely verigated purple waves

A bunch of my fibery friends did make it to Rhinebeck this year, so I did get a very enthusiastic on-the-scene report. They thought, however, that I only submitted three skeins. So Pleione’s ribbon came as a lovely surprise when my stuff made it home this week, as it happened to be the forgotten skein.

My fibery friends also brought me home a gift…

Pretty, pretty mix of colors!

…8 ounces of sari silk thrums, which are currently making their way little-by-little onto Monster as a funky art yarn.

Twisty tussah silk threads

I’m thinking of plying it with a thin black merino single, maybe with some black-dyed mohair locks tail spun in…you know, for fun!

So, yay for Rhinebeck 2009! And look out Rhinebeck 2010…I’ll be back for sure!!