Eat, Sleep, Spin: Fractal Spin

Hey All!

In January, my good friend C added me to a couple of awesome FB spinning groups.  One of them was Eat, Sleep, Spin which has a guided technique each month. For February, that was fractal spinning.


Fractal spinning is a technique for dyed top in which you split a braid such as this in half vertically.  The first half is spun straight from end to end to make a single.  The second half is divided, again vertically, into several strips (colors oriented the same way) and are spun end to end to end to make a second single.  The two singles are plied together to achieve a beautiful color progression in which every so often both plies are the same color.Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 6.14.33 PM.png

I already had, in my stash (SEE I can use my stash!), the perfect hand dyed roving.  4.25 oz of beautiful Corriedale combed top dyed by my dear friend C and ordered from her Etsy shop TheHippieHomemaker (shameless plug).


Beautiful isn’t it?



It turned out perfect! 350 yards of Fingering weight heaven.

What do you think?


Ta-Da! Tuesday #22

Good Morning and Happy Ta-Da! Tuesday Everyone!

Today is Ta-Da! Tuesday and there is definitely a Ta-Da!, but we are going to change it up a bit this week.  For those of you new to the blog, I am a knitter, crocheter, and — recently — a spinner.  What you may not know, however, is that I am married to a wonderful woman who — in order to spend more quality time with me — decided last spring to take a class and learn to knit.

R has been knitting now for about 10 months and is a natural.  She has fearlessly tackled cables, lace, and the altering of patterns to suit her own personal style.

This morning R will be guest blogging about her most recent FO.  It is a beautiful piece and I know you will all enjoy her way with yarn as well as her way with words.

Please welcome my better half, R

Thanks! It’s true–I used to be the one who was the oft-spotted “yarn spouse”, standing around aimlessly, staring at all the colors and types of fiber and waiting impatiently for J to hurry the heck up. Then I started paying attention to all the pretty colors. Then I started feeling all the wonderful soft and squishy balls of alpaca, the sturdy balls of cotton, and the sleek and shiny hanks of lace. Slowly, I started sneaking a couple of skeins into his shopping cart after securing a promise to make me this or that. After a while though, it dawned on me that if I was ever going to get those things which never made it to the top of his queue, I’d better figure out how to do it myself. Of course, learning to knit was also a self-defense mechanism, seeing as pretty much all of our retirement savings are invested in stash and we needed something new to work on together. 🙂

Now, to my Ta-Da! I’m fascinated with the idea of test knitting and sample knitting–I love the idea of it. I love the process of helping a designer finish a product; I love being one of the first people to make something new; I love knitting, but I rarely wear my own work–preferring to give it away as gifts or sell it because I don’t want to be the one that messes it up. As I was trolling in the Testing Pool group on Rav one day, I came across a call for completing a test knit that I couldn’t pass up. So, I signed up and dutifully bought 8 skeins of Manos del Uruguay Classica in cornflower. 

Beautiful, right? After diligently finishing, washing, and blocking my swatch and choosing a needle size (I almost always have to go up one because I knit tightly.), I was off to the races. 

The pattern for the sweater is now available on Ravelry and is called Emilie June. It has an awesome side-to-side construction, so no seaming for the folks that prefer to avoid such difficulties. There’s a neat cable design along the bottom edge and a comfy shawl collar. The sleeves are done almost like the afterthought heel–you knit in a piece of waste yarn where the sleeve will go and then keep knitting. Once you’re ready to do the sleeve, you just pull out the waste yarn and pick up the stitches and off you go. How cool is that? 

One of the things that I love about knitting is that you learn something new every time–this time, my new skill to learn was how to do hidden short rows in stockinette. I’m not going to lie–I made J. do the tink and redo the first set after I messed it up, but then I figured it out and just look how good I did!

As usual, I didn’t really want to keep it and be the one to wear it out, it’s also pretty significantly too big if I wanted to keep it, so it’s off to a new home as a gift. The cardigan is super warm and soft. I’m not a huge fan of the thick and thin aspects of the Manos Classica generally (why do the thick bits and thin bits always seem to pool together–you’d think they would even out. Perhaps this only happens to me…), but they worked out well in this pattern. I also decided to be super brave and didn’t alternate balls of yarn–the luck of the knitter was with me though, because none of my skein changes are noticeable. Here are a few more pics for good measure, a little bit so you can see how well the design elements worked out, but mostly so you can see how awesome I did. 

Thanks for letting me steal J’s show! P.S. This is my first blog post, and J says it’s poor form to use contractions. I’m pretty sure that’s hooey though–feel free to comment if you’ve a good reason why I mustn’t use them. 🙂

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Fiber Fever Friday # 20

Good Morning!

I hope you are all looking forward to the coming weekend!  The weather forecast calls for sunny skies and mid 50’s here in Memphis this weekend, but the Fiber forecast calls for a downpour of good fortune!  
Late last week I spun my first pair of singles (see Fiber Fever Friday # 19) and last weekend, I plied, set and thwacked my first ever 2-ply.  It did turn out to be a bulky weight yarn, but a great bulky weight yarn!  I am very happy with the result — although I do not think I will ever be able to use this yarn.  It is going straight into the core stash!

Not too bad, all in all, for a first hank.
Have a wonderful Knitful weekend everyone!
Joining Linda@Natural Suburbia and Steph@Woolythyme for Creative Friday and TamisAmis for FO Friday.

Ta-Da! Tuesday #20

Two Furry Hats…

Back in September, I saw a sample for a Cocoknits pattern and hatched an idea for a Christmas present.  It was a cool hat — good for the chill of winter and it would give me the opportunity to learn “thrumming”.

So, for today’s Ta-Da! Tuesday, we have the Fleeced Earflap Hat (well two of them really):

I made one for a family member and enjoyed it so much I made another for myself.  The yarn in both cases is Malabrigo Rasta (Tip: Knit the medium size to get a large hat in this yarn!).  The thrumming is pure wool dyed brown…  You can find my project in Ravelry here.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Ta-Da! Tuesday #19

Hello All!

It has been a while since I have posted for Ta-Da! Tuesday but I am happy to be doing so now…

Back in December I was wasting some knitting time browsing patterns on Ravelry and I ran across a group requesting test knitters for a male intended cowl.  It was not, at first glance, a pattern that would blow you away or anything but it was arresting.  I thought about it for a day or so and decided that I wanted to make it — and so I joined the group of test knitters for the pattern.  (This is one of the reasons that I love Ravelry!)  A day later I had the pattern and ordered the yarn.  By the end of the week I had cast on.  Now this pattern has changed my outlook on knitting…

The pattern was The Other Million by Brenda Burrell ( brendadada on Ravelry ).

As you can see the sample is very handsome, fun and simple.  Through color choice it could be flashy or conservative…

Having only been knitting for about 4 years now, my progression in skill as a knitter has been about the “next” thing — progressing from simple knit stitches early on to cables, charts, fair isle, mosaic, double knitting, lace, etc…

Not until this pattern did I begin to see the appeal of simple colorwork.  Simple colorwork can be beautiful, infinitely customizable, showy or conventional, the list goes on and on.  I could not see that before because I was on a path to conquer knitting.  Does that make sense?  I wanted to attain the skill to do anything in knitting.  Being a “good” knitter is not defined by being able to design and work your own Guernsey sweater.  What I have come to realize is that I already have the confidence to do anything I want to do in knitting and so I should focus on making myself happy.

The thing with being a male knitter is that very little is designed successfully with men in mind.  Men’s apparel generally has a limited set of color choices… This is not the result of societal pressures so much as personal taste.  I mean if I wanted to wear pink, I would wear pink. In fact I have a pink shirt — but if you stand back from my closet and eye it you are going to see a lot of blue.  Successful men’s knitted apparel is not only limited in color, however, it is also limited in the variety of stitches.  Usually, this means little or no lace, no yarn overs, no bobbles, certain cables, and the list goes on and on…

Colorwork, therefore, can provide a refuge from most of these perils.  It can be simple and interesting to knit.  It can be successfully wearable for many men and add a bit of extra color to their wardrobe.  Many people do not want to knit men’s socks because they are usually black, navy or brown and they consist of a lot of stockinette stitches — again I am not saying they have to be bland, just that most men prefer them that way.  Colorwork will let you add variety in simple stitches.

I am probably singing to the choir or nobody at all…  Most of you have probably already figured this out or knit for men who wear bright colors all the time… But for me, this changed the game in terms of my knitting goals.

Sorry for the rant.  You are here, after all, for a Ta-Da! moment…

For my version of The Other Million I decided to work it in five colors rather than nine.  It is originally designed to be worked in four blocks of two colors (eight stripes) with a random stripe somewhere between blocks.  Something like the following:


However, I chose to work it as follows:


This meant that at any given time, if you saw two blocks together, they would share at least one color.

And here it is:


The Other Million by Brenda Burrell.  The yarn is Cascade 220 Sport Wool in colors Ginger, Straw, Navy, Silver Grey, and Walnut Heather.  It was knit in the round from a provisional cast on and once the knitting was done, the ends were folded and grafted together (so as to create an inner tube).  Let me tell you, that is a long graft!

It was so much fun — I highly recommend the pattern…

Happy Knitting Everyone!