Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year, New Resolutions, New Me

For my followers, this post details why it has been a while since I have blogged.  I hope to continue this year about once a week.

So for the past couple of years,  the knitting and crochet business has slowed down, but orders have snowballed.  By that I mean that I haven't sold a great deal at craft shows, however, people have been keeping me busy with repairs, orders, and other things yarn related.  I am not sure when I have completed something for myself.  So I had to make some decisions, since I stopped taking requests/orders and have almost completed the items owed.  

1.  This year, 2015, is the year of knitting for me.  I may still make something for friends, but it will be my choice of pattern, yarn, skillset.  This way I can learn some things I want to learn and I don't feel obligated because I am on a deadline and getting paid.   I also get to knit some things for myself that I have been hoarding for several years. (And find time to blog about what I am making.)

2.  NO MORE ORDERS.  Knitting is not as much fun when you feel the pressure to complete something because you are getting paid to make a beautiful shawl, but in department store acrylic yarn.  (For those of you who are non knitters, to me it is like making a ball gown out of burlap.)

3.  I also needed to make time in the mornings for myself.  I wake up at least an hour before everyone else in my house.  With all the orders and repairs,  I had been using that hour to work on projects and fill orders.  Now that I am (almost) done, I hope to return to my routine of exercising to get back in shape.  It takes a lot less yarn to knit a medium size sweater, than a large or XL.  

All this being said I want to leave you with my crowning achievement this year.  It is called the Robin Hood Jacket and was my first seamed sweater.  I learned a great deal while making this sweater.  The biggest lesson was sometimes you have to rewrite the pattern to get each section pattern stitches from different pages.  A chart for this sweater would have been invaluable, since the patter was made up of cable sections which were on 2-3 different pages of the pattern.  All in all it was a great knit and I can't wait to make a grown up sized sweater.

Close up of cable details.

Back of sweater.

Front of sweater.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Green Sheep

Recently our library had a community night and invited people to come and share with those who came to visit.  They had hot dogs, free school supplies, and lots of activities.  I decided to go and spin because I have met many of my fiber friends at the library.

One lady was very inquisitive. "What are you doing?" she asked.

"Spinning yarn," I reply.

"Is that insulation?"

"No it is wool," I say."

"From sheep?"


"Where do they get green sheep?" she asks.

Trying not to laugh, I tell her,

"Uh, they dye the wool after they shear the sheep."

"OH," she exclaims.

She stood and watched a few more minutes and thanked me.

I am still looking for a green sheep.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Labor (Day) of Love, My Spinning Through One Year

Well it has been just over 4 years ago that I attended the Men's Fall Knitting Retreat in Seattle, WA.  My wife won the trip for me and it was a life changing event.  This past weekend was this years retreat for the West Coast and I one day wish to return.  While there I learned to drop spindle spin.  I practiced for several years, but it takes some time to get enough yarn to make something.  I will say that I now own 3 drop spindles (2 for use and 1 for decoration).  It is easy and portable and I love to take it places with me when I can.

About a year and a half ago I took my first spinning class, using a wheel at the Carolina Fiber Fest.  The yarn I made was awful, but usable and I still have it in a hank, in a basket to use to show as my first.  After taking the class a friend loaned me her grandmother's wheel and I practiced over last summer.  This is what I got:
Spun on 100 year old wheel.

I bought a spinning wheel from Craig's list just over a year ago and began to practice.  My wife and I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool.  I bought some multicolor fiber with my daughter in mind:

Still has quite a few extra twists in it.

I had some Tunis wool that I continued to practice with and here is the result.  I find the Tunis a little harder to spin, but is good for practice.

Tunis, less twist, but thick and thin.  I think it is better.

Over this summer I think I have practiced well.  This is the first result of this summer's spinning.  It is Mountain Colors BFL plied with Pagewood Farms Pencil Roving:

I was very proud and had some single left over:

Just this week I finished some Sweet Georgia Roving plied again with some Pagewood Farm pencil roving.  I am thrilled at the results:

Orange is my favorite color and these are great fall colors.  I love the results and it came out basically even so that I only had about 6 inches of the pencil roving left after plying.

So finally here is a comparison:

What a journey!  In just over a year I have handspun yarn I am very proud to display.  

I also completed my first project from my handspun.  It is the Fenced In hat  and I loved making it.  

Hope you enjoy my journey.