yarn

I always feel more comfortable with myself if I make expensive-ish things for myself instead of buying them from the store: wool sweaters and accessories mostly. A lot of where I shop doesn’t exactly scream haute couture anyways and it’s a hunt to find a good quality sweater that isn’t 100% acrylic, fashionable, and doesn’t cost $80.

Bring in the yarn. So I went to RCYC this year. Managed to hit up 3 stores with the helpful enabling of my friend @kathynancegirl. First up was a large purchase at Close Knit. I won’t disclose how much I spent, you can figure that out on your own…but lets just say that I bought $90’s worth of 1 sweaters amount of yarn.

But Marilyn! That’s more than the $80 you didn’t want to spend on that other pre-made sweater!! Continue reading Rose City Yarn Crawl 2017

Read more

At the end of last month I took a short trip up to Seattle via Amtrak to visit my friends. We hit up two famous places: Churchmouse Yarns and Uwajimaya. Yes, there is an Uwajimaya here in Beaverton, but holy smokes this places was about twice as big in all respects: larger grocery, larger home goods area, larger Kinokuniya bookstore.

Here are the pics of the AB products I got at Uwajimaya. I’ve already detailed them in IMGUR so I’m not going to duplicate that content here. Enjoy! Continue reading Seatle Jan-Feb Photo Dump: Cats, Food, Fun!

Read more

Hey there. I spent last weekend up in Seattle with my lovely friends Izi and Rocko…I mean Noriko and Ari. =D

Izi is a mega-derp-a-licious cat. And Rocko is a haphazardly Chi puppy who desperately wants to play with Izi…who refuses to have anything to do with him besides the occasional BAP.

But anyways. I was up to assist my friends with their booth at the Fiber Fusion at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe Washington. Yay! My people have a booth! The week leading up to it I couldn’t remember where exactly we were going. Monroe? Who’s ever heard of this place? Not me apparently. And despite my name, I couldn’t remember it in casual conversation.

So what did I come home with? FIBER!!! Fibah….FERberrrrhhhh  Continue reading My Name is What?

Read more

Success! I didn’t get the flu this year so I was able to check out a few of the shops!

image

This year the rcyc started a day early! WHO DOES THAT? I was a little irked that the stores were making their exclusives and having trunk shows starting on Thursday. A lot of people have jobs, a lot of people are coming from out of state, a lot of people are  attending! That last bit though is probably why they extended the crawl by a whole day. This year they didn’t have a yarn ball either (pre-party).

Enough of the self-deluded griping and on to the goodies!!

rcyc haul

From leftish to rightish:

A. Thoroughly Thwacked 60/40 Merino Bamboo fiber braid gradient Bleeding Heart

B. Alexandra’s Crafts 50/50 Merino Yak down fiber braid. No official color way name, but it is a dark red/black

C. Twist and Turnings 2.25″ African Padauk Whorl with a 9.5″ Maple shaft. 26g/0.95oz

D. Ashland Bay Cheviot natural roaving. 0.5oz for testing purposes

E. Alexandra’s Crafts Custom Colorway for Pearl Fiber Arts. Cedar Creek 85/15 SW Merino Neps in Mushroom

F. Alexandra’s Crafts 2 skeins Black Butte 60/20/20 Merino, Silk, and Yak down. In the color way Deep Purple.

G. Solstice Alpenrose DK SW Merino in Lake Washington

H. Solstice Luna Sport 80/10/10 SW Merino, Cashmere, Nylon in Cherry Blossom

I. Brooklyn Tweed Shelter Targhee-Columbian Wool in Postcard

J. Madeline Tosh Tosh Merino Light SW Merino in Filtered Light

K. Chiaogoo Red Lace  size US15 24″ fixed circular needles

L. Unicorn Wash!

rcyc

Most of the items are brands that are new to me or material that is new to me. For spinning the Merino/Bamboo blend was my first spinning project. I like it a lot and have since learned how to navajo ply so I picked up a gradient specifically for that purpose. Additionally the yak down was just too poofy and soft to pass up. And at $30 for a whole 4oz of a luxury fiber? Yes please!

I had been avoiding using Brooklyn Tweed because of reports of the weakness of the ply. So I decided to go with Shelter, the worsted weight yarn they offer. It sure is spongy and hopefully lives up to it’s name. This is the only skein I purchased at the crawl that is not some sort of merino blend. I’m not settled on what I want to make with it, but signs are pointing towards hat.

Additionally I had my eye on splattered yarns. I’ve seen some people around town sporting this type of hand painted yarn in hat form and I want one for myself! I’m familiar with Madeline Tosh yarns so I know it will turn out really well. Also I’ve used Thoroughly Thwacked’s Vixen single ply yarns I find myself liking the stitch definition a lot more than other yarns, especially with lace projects. Tosh Merino Light is a single ply so this skein probably won’t end up as a hat, and if it does I may hold it double.

Next comes the Solstice yarns dyed in Portland by the Dublin Bay Knitting Co. gals at the same named shop. I have already started a project with the Alpenrose Dk. First impressions? This is a really sturdy yarn. It is super wash merino at a reasonable 280 yards for $26.   Perhaps it is because I’m making a hat, but at this point the semi-solid nature of the dye job is making some areas pool with the darker dye. The yarn itself also has some variation in thickness and softness. Overall I’d give this a 8/10 for those issues pointed out. Once the project is off the needles I may revisit my analysis. I do feel I need to make a sweater out of this yarn before I pass final judgement. =)

Little Red

In addition to upping the variety of yarns I use, I chose also to up my skills in drop spindling by purchasing a new spindle without a notch. I’ve decided to name it Little Red since it is the smallest, and cutest, of the two spindles I now currently own. At just under an ounce, I’ve used the Cheviot to try it out and boy is it light! I think I can make some really nice three ply lace weights with this spindle…with enough practice of course. The Kundert is still my workhorse that I seem to always have a project going on.

Lastly comes the Unicorn Wash. I see this stuff everywhere! I’ve been using some wool wash that came with the Knit Picks blocking mats. Small little bottles of soapy smelling stuff that I’m not entirely sure why there were two different kinds because they smelled the same. I’ll have to do more investigation into the difference between an wool soak and an actual wool wash. But that’s for another time.


TL;DR Bought stuff that I haven’t used before in new brands, color ways, and material. Pretty excited for this year’s knitting projects!

 

 

 

Read more

You’re almost a third of the way through and I haven’t talked to you at all!

I finally managed an FO! I spent a few hours fiddling with the super bulky pink yarn I had spun and plied earlier this year and finally made myself a beanie.

img_2289.jpg
img_2295.jpg

Tips for next time: 2-ply bulky and don’t fret if it’s not entirely bulky!

I used up every last bit of the super bulky and almost didn’t have enough for the beanie. Thankfully I do have size US15 needles! You can barely make out the quarter underneath four strands of the yarn. Since I let it sit for nearly a month it has not only revealed to me it’s ultimate sproinginess, as merino is, it has also grown on me. The pictures here don’t really show the color well. It isn’t orange. It is PINK. PIIINK.

img_2377.jpg

MMmhmmm some tasty handspun this is!

The pattern is basic 2×2 variation on Norichanknits Hipstamatic. My changes include casting on 44 instead of 52, working 3 rows on size US11 needles, switching to size US15 needles for the rest of the beanie. The four ply nature of the yarn meant that some spots were not as fluffy as others which gives it a nice subtle thick and thin effect without being so dramatic. I’m pleased with the results and need someone to take me hiking in the mountains! (hint hint).

Speaking of adventures, here’s a sneak peak at my goodies from the Rose City Yarn Crawl!

img_2364.jpg

A part of learning the craft of drop spinning is upping the game with advanced tools as well as advanced techniques. This little beauty is barely 1oz in weight and doesn’t have a notch! It makes up for that by having a sharper curve at the top of the hook to keep the thread in place. This one is made by Twist and Turnings right here in Portland! It is a 26g/.95oz with an African Paduak whorl and a solid Maple shaft. It’s an itty bitty spindle that I was able to try out at the store. I pretty much tried all of the spindles at Pearl Fiber Arts and this one called my name moreso than the others. There was another dark walnut whorl too, I think it was a 31g weight…yes I am still thinking about it but I’m pretty sure someone’s bought it already. Must exercise self-craft-control…lol

Since this spindle is lighter than my Kundert spindle, I’m hoping to get some consistent lace weight out of it. This spindle is also shorter than my Kundert, so for portability it does get higher marks. I wonder if I can take it with me on an airplane.

Anyways, my master plan is to take knitting with me on my trip to California in April to test out theories about taking circular knitting needles in carry-on luggage on a much trans-continental flight later this year. I’ll bring a set of fixed chiaogoos with me and a pre-stamped envelope just in case the TSA officers are a bunch of hooligans.

Read more

The past few weeks have been a bit hectic at work, so I apologize for not updating you on my master plan spinning project. This is probably my most ambitious attempt so far at spinning a large quantity since Noriko and Cory’s visit in which I finally nailed down my drafting technique. Spinning like a boss now. But aside from that what has evolved is an appreciation for the three ply. If you know me, then you also know that I can jump the gun sometimes and just go-go-go on a project. This has definitely been a test of patience and a labor of love.

First Ply: Buckle My Shoe. A semi-solid blue-turquoise colored 100% merino dyed by Knitted Wit. I should have listened to Cindy and Noriko about starting off with a basic fiber. (I still love my first wonky mini-skein~!!!). I started off drafting this fiber the opposite way as my previous spinning projects and boy did it make a difference. Being a left-handed person, I was originally trying to draft with my left hand, which mean that my right hand was doing it’s own thing, aka holding the fiber too tightly causing the cat knappiness at the end of the fiber. But anyways, I switched drafting hands and I totally got this now.

Second Ply: 100% Natural Merino. It’s white, so I feel like it was probably bleached or something regardless of what the tag says. Aside from that this was a practice in precision. I tried to get this to be a smidge thicker and more even a ply than the Buckle My Shoe. What I got was a much shorter ply, at least to the naked eye. I’m fairly certain that I still got a good 200+ yards out of it though! =D

Third Ply: 60/40 Merino/Bamboo in the She Shed colorway by Thoroughly Thwacked. Ok so this is not a measured 2oz, but I think it’ll be enough to match the first two in length fairly decently. I was waffling on whether or not to use the BFL and decided on continuing with the merino trend. My first attempt with the BFL was not so great, though friends rave about it’s soft and silkiness. I repeatedly dropped my Kundert when attempting a ply and barely got a few yards before I gave up. I’ll try again at a later time because it must be plied with another color. I can’t ignore that coffee and cream coloring!

Two vs Three ply: Visually

In theme with being impatient and wanting to experiment I tested the ends of the Buckle My Shoe and the Natural Merino to see what it would potentially look like and got this (Sorry for the blurry pic, but you can see how kinda puffy it is as just a 2 ply):

2-ply

I’m not a fan of how the test is looking. I went ahead and started plying the She Shed and wow does it make a difference!

3-ply

 

Granted this doesn’t show at all what the color changes will look like. She Shed has blue and pink/red sections which I have found blend together much better now that I am finally drafting properly and the ply itself is much skinnier than my first attempt. The color transitions are not so abrupt and the over-spinning that I was doing before is much less of a problem since working with the merino. I’m pretty stoked to get the ply finished, take pictures, and share with everyone the final yarn results!

If all goes as planned, I think I may stick with the plying a solid with a multi-dyed fiber path. 2 ounces seems to be a good sweet spot for me before I get bored of a particular colorway and I really like the way my three ply hand spun looks. The closer I get to completing the third ply the more anxious I am to get my hands on a niddy noddy. Granted that for measuring purposes, my swift works just as well, and also to make a decent sized skein. Just wanting to have all the right, and pretty, tools I guess. =)

And just how am I going to go about plying 6 ounces of yarn? Uh…we’ll get to that when we get to that…hehe

 

Read more

Officially starting on another sweater. Now I know for sure that I have some weird hangup in which I get really antsy if I’m not working on a sweater.

The pattern I’ve chosen is called Kyra Boatneck Pullover. It’s a basic lace and cable pattern from the bottom up, drop sleeves, and minimal shaping/finishing. Unfortunately the pattern is written flat and with 6′ of positive ease. I’ll have to do some calculations once I get my gauge swatch done.

In all likelihood I’m thinking of doing it with reduced ease, possibly 4″ instead of 6″, and making it in the round and then splitting at the top for arm holes and finishing. I’ve done this before with the PurlBee Lattice Top, so I’m fairly confident it will be alright. The difference here is that I will be doing sleeves or some type of sleeve, which will negate the need to decrease stitches for roundness at the shoulder.

Another major concern of the pattern is that it does not have charts. The lace/cable is written and there is a basic measurement schematic for the body and sleeves. Alas, no chart. Based on the completed projects this doesn’t seem to be a problem and many people are able to get through it without a problem.

The yarn I’ve chosen is Shepard’s Wool Worsted Super Wash in the Lilac colorway. My LYS only had three skeins in stock, but I should have enough for a decent length in the body with shortened sleeves, as I had planned on doing anyways.

IMG_1973

Also since I’m reducing 2 inches on the body width that will give me more yarn for length. Each skein is 250 yards, so the master plan here is to do two skeins on the body in the round, third skein will be neckline finishing. Leftovers will be allocated to the sleeves.

I’m also concerned about where the hem of the sweater will cut off at my waist and will probably do maybe 4″ of ribbing instead of what appears to only be about 2″. This modification is still up in the air though.

Besides these adjustments, I’m pretty excited to have another layer I can have over my dresses this coming winter…three days away…haha

So far my anti-pants mission has been going well. =)

Also I need to start planning for items to knit to wear in Ireland! Yep, we are definitely going next year! XD

 

 

Read more

One down, two to go!

Christmas is just around the corner and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been a long time since I was truely excited to give gifts. Mostly because this year I feel like I can afford to give some well thought and meaningful items.

But anyways, onto some selfish stuff:

I did manage to get wrangled into going to Jonathan’s company holiday party. Partly due to the purchase of this little beauty:

IMG_1932

 

Aww yeah, gigantic teddy sweater! It was remarkably soft and cozy despite obviously being used. May have found the best vintage store in Portland too.  A little secret spot in Hollywood called Babylon Vintage. Products are good and the prices are even better! I’m not super sure about the contents as the tag was gone, but I’m guessing there’s a bit of wool in addition to acrylic. I’m hoping to figure out a way to tailor it though. It’s a XL with odd wing shaping on the sleeves. But otherwise, super awesome teddy sweater!!

Around the block we happen upon a bazaar at the local church. At one of the booths was hand made, hard wood, Christmas ornaments!

 

IMG_1934 The maker, Vincent and his partner, don’t have a facebook page or etsy shop set up yet, so I’ve linked his facebook profile in-which he accepts messages for orders. He’s been busy shipping out and making new items. Check him out!

 

IMG_1956 IMG_1949

I’ve also come to the point of obsession over this app: Neko Atsume

Cats

Play things

Fish currency

It’s basically a super easy, non-sadface version of a Tamogatchi =)

IMG_1951

Christmas for myself came a smidge early. A long the lines of learning new things I’ve picked up a drop spindle from KundertSpindles. These are also hand made and super light! I’ve already broken into my merino/bamboo from Thoroughly Thwacked. And picked up some undyed BFL at my LYS and Masham dyed by DragynKnits. Excited! Need to get the almost 1.5oz I’ve already spun up safely off my spindle though so I can try these other fibers.

Not bad for a newbie

Not bad for a newbie

Seems to be working so far. Only dropped it twice...hehe

Seems to be working so far. Only dropped it twice…hehe

For a little while there I was really confused about the importance of the weight of the spindle. Heavier spindle = thicker yarns? Yup. The weight of the spindle gives the whorl more mass in which to stay in motion. More force is needed to keep the spindle twisting the fibers. If there are more fibers, you need more force and so more weight. So anyways. I apparently bought a super duper light spindle, despite it’s size. Hopefully as I get better this means I can do both thick and thin threads!

But do you see those colors?!!!?!?!?!?!!

le sigh…

 

Read more