Friday, June 20, 2014

Two new patterns, 4th of July at The Yarn Spot

Fourth of July at The Yarn Spot this year will be a celebration of becoming the flagship shop for Dragonfly Fibers' yarns and spinning fibers.  To add to the celebration, The Yarn Spot is also releasing a new line of shop sock patterns designed by a variety of local artists. Here are two coming from me:

First, a totally basic beginner sock, designed for those who are knitting socks for the first time, or those who just want the beauty of the socks to shine through without interruption:

Second, a cabled sock designed specifically in honor of The Yarn Spot; the cable makes a circle spot, then adds a twist below it. It's easy to memorize at a glance, and fast to knit up. This one is designed in two sizes, to fit men's and women's feet easily and well.

Both are available soon at The Yarn Spot, along with the sample socks shown so that you will be able to see how they work and fit.

Unfortunately, I've found that my current medical troubles are interfering with the speed at which I can design and knit at the moment. So I'm not sure how fast and furious upcoming projects are going to appear, relative to my historic speediness. I'm still knitting, spinning, and working as fast as I can. That speed is just much slower than in the past.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A shawl fit for a queen begins with a single combed wool nest

I've long been in love with the Queen Susan Shawl pattern, available free on Ravelry and developed by knitters from Rav's Heirloom Knitting Forum as the quintessence of fine Shetland shawl design and execution.  It's a very large, traditional shawl and I've looked at it and similar patterns and intended at some point to knit one.

Naturally being me, I decided I should use hand spun wool, not commercial yarn. I use hand spun a lot, right, what's the difficulty? The difficulty is that this will require spinning about 7500 yards of finished yarn. Yes. That's a lot. A big sweater to fit my oversized body in very fine yarn might require 2000 yards.

I have at least 5 whole fleeces in the house in various stages of washing and combing. None was perfect. The wools I have that would be perfect I only have in little amounts, enough to make 500-1000 yards or there a-bouts.  But I've settled on a Rambouillet-Targhee-Polypay X I bought last year as the most suitable of what I have, and started combing. At least each little combed nest gives me several minutes of spinning, since I'm spinning it fairly fine. I'm not spinning it as super-cobweb fine, because I'm not going to ply it but use it as simple singles; there's just no way I'm spinning 15,000 yards and plying that.  I'm shooting for as even as possible, as it's silly to plan on such an involved knit with a slubby second rate yarn.

So here I go.
The first few dozen yards on the first bobbin.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Coming soon to The Yarn Spot

A beautiful new basic sock pattern is coming soon to The Yarn Spot for your knitting pleasure. It's part of a new line of sock patterns the shop will carry, including lacy, cabled, basic, and more choices, all exclusive to The Yarn Spot. The samples are being worked up in Dragonfly Fibers sock yarns, for extra excitement. While you wait to get your hands on the various patterns, here are some shots of the sample basic socks enjoying a beautiful afternoon in the backyard.

Your morning yarn goof ball

I finished spinning my first skein of MDSW 2014 yarn. Of course the only reason this is done so quickly is because it was hand painted top I bought ready to spin, not raw fleece. Still it was lovely top, and quite nice yarn. It's super wash BFL hand painted by FatCatKnits (who also has an Etsy shop) and sold by Coughlin's Homespun Yarns.  I finished with 3.5 oz, 390 yards of 3 ply sock yarn, enough for a nice, washable pair of socks.
And then someone little and weird stepped in and took control of the yarn.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

MDSW 2014: It's a Wrap!

With my usual standard of performance firmly in place, I will admit: I not only didn't take a single photo at MDSW last weekend, I didn't even get in any photos with my friends.  Not that friends weren't about.  I got to spend hours with my since-we-were-practically-tiny best friend Mabel; I got to visit with Susan Coughlin (of Coughlin's Homespun Yarns), Linda Evans Flaishans (of Rainbow Rapunzel), and so many other vendors, including The Spanish Peacock, The Tsarina of Tsocks, The Bee Folks, and more.  I got to meet up with Knitties and Ravelers and Facebook friends. And yes, I bought a LOT of wool, fleece, and yarn. And then when I got home and found I hadn't blown my budget, I bought two more small fleeces (a Wensleydale/Gotland cross and a Teeswater/Rambouillet cross, both dark colored) from Lowder Colours Farm because I could and I had to.

Then I got home and unlike many years felt I had to start attacking what I brought back immediately. So I've knit one of the EZ 100th Birthday Anniversary shawl patterns in the Fiber Optics gradient yarn set I bought (I haven't tackled the 4 oz gradient wool top yet):

And I started spinning some top from FatCat Knits that I bought from Susan Coughlin. These pictures were taken as I started out; I finished one third of it. It'll be a three ply sock yarn when I'm done; it's super wash BFL wool.

I really didn't buy any other yarn; it was all fleece and fiber this year for me except this. Now I need a little pattern for the leftover 150 yards of lace weight from the shawl. And if my leg ever stops hurting and swelling, I'd like to finish spinning the sock yarn.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sheepiest Week of 2014

Yes I fell off the face of the earth for the last month. I'm not even going to start going into a discussion of what was going on, it will sound so contrived it would belong on a soap opera if it didn't really happen.
So we'll focus on this being the first week of May. Which means, yes, Star Wars day on 5/4 (May the Fourth be with you). Also, incidentally, MARYLAND SHEEP AND WOOL!

So yesterday and today I went up to help fold tee shirts. Those hundreds of tee shirts in a rainbow of about 15 different colors and 7 different adult sizes as well as children's? They don't arrive folded. They arrive boxed, ready to be folded.  And so a variety of people showed up to unload all the merchandise and then spend two afternoons folding shirts.

I had the privilege of folding the very last shirt that needed it:

And now tomorrow I go up to the grounds again to drop of my items for the skein and garment competition. And then comes the actual

Again, not that there is any excitement building.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Inspiration strikes from the strangest places

Once upon a time, in Helena, Montana, a physician named Stephen Nagy took microscopic photographs of various cells and tiny life forms and entered them in a photography contest sponsored by Nikon. And a friend showed me this entry, a photograph of the tip of a butterfly's tongue, and jokingly suggested I knit it.
And so I bought yarn
Left side yarns are Pixie in Rose Bud and Djinni Sock in Ode to Sock Summit, both by Dragonfly Yarns

and size 6 and 8 glass seed beads in blue base with metallic multicolored finishes, and purple blue beads in an elongated shape.

Because that's the kind of knitter I am.

Stay tuned.

Incidentally I think a few of the other photographs Dr. Nagy submitted will require knitted versions as well.