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.

WIP Wednesday #19

Hey Everyone,

I am joining Steph@Woolythyme , Ginny@Small Things , and TamisAmis for Yarn Along / WIP Wednesday today.  Please check out their blogs — they are great bloggers and prolific crafters to be sure…  I love sharing their links, but please do not come back and compare my photography to Ginny’s — she’s an excellent photographer.
First, I would like to mention that my friend Steph has lost her knitting mojo.   If you see it, please contact her at Woolthyme so that she may retrieve it.  🙂
It is WIP Wednesday, so let’s talk about socks.  I am still diligently working through my pair of boot socks.  The leg is complete and the heel is turned.  I am down to the arch of the foot on both socks and expect to finish them any day now.

On the literary front, I am still listening to Thunderhead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  The book is a great story about an archaeologist’s desperate search for her father, closure, and fame while leading an expedition through a cursed Anasazi Indian tribe’s “holy land”.  It is a very compelling read, or listen as the case may be.

Well, it is mid February already.  To be honest I am not quite sure I was even aware we had rolled on in to February.  This is a good thing, as this month is my least favorite of the entire year.  Luckily for me, it is also the shortest.  True to form, it has been a dark, dank, dreary, month with a roller coaster of temperature changes and very little to look forward to.  Lots of … gray…

Roxie agrees with me…

🙂  Oh well.  It has also been a good month for yarn and knitting. I have spent inordinate amounts of time on Ravelry lately.  I believe that Cascade 220 Sport Wool yarn and Stephen West are working together with Clara Parkes to get me through the winter blues…

[Picture courtesy of Stephen West’s Westy’s Besties Kal.  Taken by Jared Flood]

If you haven’t discovered it yet, Stephen West is doing a new KAL.  Well, it is called a KAL but it is really more of a KAL booklet consisting of 12 patterns released over 5 weeks.  Westies Besties is the name and you can check it out here.  The patterns released so far have been true to the Westknits MO — they are fun to knit and handsome, bordering on manly, in example color selection and stitch patterning.  I am itching to get started on some of the patterns and have already ordered a treasure trove of Cascade 220 Sport do them in.  The photography is also worth mentioning.  Jared Flood photographed most of the items for Stephen in Iceland and so the scenery is as stunning as the patterns…

Clara Parkes is well underway with The Great White Bale — an adventure she is sharing with Bale members as she and they explore the creation of yarn on a small industrial scale.  Every two weeks we get a peek into the progress she is making as she has a 676 pound bale of excellent wool fiber milled, spun, and dyed.  Later in the process, explorer members like myself, will each get to test the different versions of the spun yarn and provide feedback on the pros and cons of each form of processing.  It is a fantastic and educational exercise in creating yarn!  Although the Explorer memberships have all been bought, there are still armchair memberships available if you would like to join us in following the process of making yarn!  You can check that out: here.

Well, that is all that I currently have in the works… 
Let me know what you are working on!  Leave a comment below…
Happy Knitting Everyone!

Fiber Fever Friday # 18

Good Morning Everyone!

I hope everyone has plans to stay in, keep warm, and knit the weekend away — especially those of you enduring SNOWMAGEDDON this weekend!  I wish we were getting a snow in Memphis this weekend, but, alas, it is going to be a dreary wet 50 degree weekend.

Oh, well…  It should be a good weekend for baking gingersnaps…

…and for working on the THREE (Count’em !  There are only 3!!!) WIPs I have on the needles right now.  I shall try my very best not to cast on another project this weekend.  Even though I really want to because Stephen West just released the first set of patterns from his new KAL book, “Westies Besties” and also because I have recently acquired this:

The yarn is Lorna’s Laces, Helen’s Lace in the Sand Ridge colorway and it came to me through my LYS during a half price New Year’s sale (I had been looking at this yarn for 9 months but couldn’t justify the $50 per skein price tag).  
It goes with these:

…to make a Shipwreck
So send strong willed vibes my way — I’m not sure I can resist casting this one on much longer…
Knit Happy Everyone!
Please stay safe and warm this weekend…
Linking with Tamisamis, Small Things, Natural Suburbia, and Woolythyme for the Friday rounds!

WIP Wednesday # 18

Wow.  What a start to the new year.  If 2012 went out like a lamb, 2013 has come in like a lion.  Lots of stress, angst, responsibilities, new friendship, fiber, group agendas (and did I mention responsibility?) — so far it has been a roller-coaster.

Last week, I was voted in as President of the Memphis Knitting Guild and R is the new Social Media Coordinator.  We’re excited about the changes we can bring to the Guild and I hope the membership will be open enough to embrace them this year.  So far, so good.  🙂
April will bring about the first Gathering of the Guilds (of the West Tennessee area).  We are all getting together for a meet and greet.  Hopefully we will be able to work out a social event between guilds for the fall.  Unfortunately the Gathering takes place the same weekend as Stitches South so we cancelled our plans to attend and registered for the Gathering.  If you live within driving distance of Jackson, TN and are a member of a Guild — join us!
On to the knitting :)….
So last month I undertook a massive Knitting organization and cleanup for the stash, tools, and pattern library.  I am still working on completing some of those tasks but the work is coming along nicely.  I frogged a couple of WIPs that were started, literally, years ago and now I am down to a crochet afghan, a knitted scarf, and a pair of knit socks.
The afghan is a long-term project.  It is a duplicate of my previous Alaskan Nights throw for my in-laws and need not be finished until November…  
I’m on row 5.  If I learned anything from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s lessons I would be worried… But I guess they were just too entertaining to be instructional.  🙂
The scarf is a simple foray into Entrelac knitting:
They are being worked in Noro’s Silk Garden : Colorway 252…  I am really enjoying the yarn.  I had heard mixed things about Noro’s Silk Garden but in my opinion — despite the vegetative matter — it is a beautiful yarn with a nice hand and a wonderful drape.  I can’t wait to finish this WIP.

[Image from the KP pattern.]
Finally, the sock pattern I am working came from Knit Picks.  It is my first true pair of socks.  I have made baby socks/booties, but this is the first adult sized pair.  It is the free Boot Socks pattern from KP, knit in KP’s Swish Worsted Marble Heather for the MC and in their Wool of the Andes Worsted Fedora for the CC for extra durability in the heel, toe, and cuff.  The pattern is plain enough to be manly in the right colors, endlessly modifiable, and (best of all) it was free.  You might think endless knit rows in grey and brown would be boring, but it is worsted weight after all so the progress is fast and this is my first ever 2 socks on 2 circulars project so I have that to keep me entertained!
*** Hint: These would make a GREAT Christmas present for any man in your life.

As for reading, well, I have had little time for reading for so long now that I cannot remember what I last read.  I have, however, been listening to a great deal of books.  At the moment, I am revisiting a favorite from years ago — Thunderhead by Douglas Child and Lincoln Preston.
There are also lots of WIPs from Christmas to reveal in the coming weeks so check back next week for Ta-Da! Tuesday!
What are you working on?
Happy Knitting Everyone!

A New Year’s Knitter : Part 4 – WIP Boot Camp

Okay, so this is the last installment of the ‘A New Year’s Knitter’ series.  So far, we have discussed cleaning up (and out) your stash, your needles, and your patterns.  Today we will discuss the what is perhaps the hardest clean out of all — the WIP pile.  You can do it, however, because we’ve built up your ruthlessness over the month.  You have steeled your heart to rid yourself of Stash that you no longer like, Needles that no longer have a mate, and Patterns that you admit you will never get around to knitting.  Be strong — this one will be like a bandaid — do it quickly and the it will hurt the least. I promise.

Nearly every knitter on the planet has more than one Work In Progress at any given time.  It seems impossible to work on one project in every circumstance.  That sweater you have been slaving away on at home is impractical to work on in the line at the bank, or at a red light, or on the commuter train — so you start another project.

That is fine — it really is — but eventually, in the process knitting those boring manly stockinette tan socks that you thought you would not mind working on, you get the itch.  You need something more [fun, colorful, intricate, NOT TAN] and those socks end up tucked away somewhere out of sight.  Occasionally you find you need your size 3 DPNs, but when you realize you left them in that sock, you back away slowly hoping that particular WIP won’t see you.  You needed another pair of size 3 DPNs anyway…

Unfortunately, this happens to a lot of knitters — and it happens a lot.  Projects get stored away for another day for all kinds of reasons — they’re boring, or the color is monotonous, or you realize that baby is now in middle school and no longer needs a baby blanket.  Whatever the reason, they are stored somewhere.  In your house.  Taking up your needles.  And your yarn.  And they make you feel guilty when you see them.

Well today you will cut yourself free.

Step 1 – Gather up all of your WIPs.  Search the house this one last time.  Pile them all together somewhere and then go get yourself a big glass of wine, or scotch maybe…

Step 2 – Be honest with yourself as you go through each and every WIP.  Why did you put this away in the first place?  Did you hit a wall?  Was there a mistake you couldn’t face correcting?  Will you really finish this?  Does your son still have size 4 feet?

Divide these WIPs into two piles: One you will finish, and one that needs to be Frogged.

Step 3 – Steel yourself!  *Take a WIP from your Frogged pile and RIP IT OUT.  After you’re done, go wind that yarn back into a ball.  Repeat from * to end of pile.

Step 4 – Make sure you add that yarn to your Ravelry Stash and remove the WIP project from your active projects.  Also be sure you counted these needles when you worked Part 3 of A New Year’s Knitter — if not, add them to your Ravelry Needle stash.

There now!  That WIP never even existed!  Feel the guilt of that project just melt away…  🙂

Step 5 – Sort and queue your remaining WIPs.  Then be sure to work on these until they are complete.  This should not be a problem — remember that you have determined they are worth completing!

Step 6 – It’s worth identifying where these WIPs should be kept — in the car, at work, by the bed, or in your knitting chair.  Place them each in their own WIP bag along with what you’ll need to work on them (scissors, cable needle, etc…) and put them in their ‘spot’.

I like the variety of WIP bags on Etsy.  These are my favorite:

They are handmade by Knitterbag in Lithuania and they come in small medium and large…

Congratulations my friend, you are now
 a New Year’s Knitter!