Monday, November 26, 2012

Finishing Vacation

I normally take the week off for Thanksgiving with my excuse being that I can have time to gear up for the holidays, get the house together for company and get some projects done.  What I actually do is knit or spin like crazy and catch up on my TV shows that started up in the fall. It's one of my favorite vacations of the year.

First up was finishing my shawl from Sivia Harding's class at the Knitter's Review Retreat.  It turned out much better than I expected.  I second guessed every decision I made but overall I think it will be my most versatile item to wear.  It can be a shawl or a scarf or a cowl type thing based on how I feel like wearing it.  Here's a couple horrible pictures of me trying to model it:

A close up of the edging body and top border:

Not bad overall.  I can see how designers end up spending a ton of time swatching.  I could have kept trying ideas over and over again.

Next up was my first hand spun project.  Other people have used my hand spun in knitting or weaving projects but I hadn't tried it out yet.  Probably my inner perfectionist trying to tell me it wasn't good enough.  I grabbed some yarn that I loved and was far from perfect and figured it was time to dive in. 

A close up of the bottom edge:
I used a pattern from Ennea Collective called Posies Shawl that is meant to be knit in hand spun.  I love that.

Overall I'm extremely happy with what I was able to accomplish.  I'm working on a set of color work mittens from my other class at the retreat and they are coming along nicely.  With all of this finishing going I might actually have some time to spin although I am getting another weaving lesson tonight so who knows!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

2013 Subscription Clubs

Life has calmed down a bit so I'm going to try to blog more.  Let's see how long that lasts!

I have 2 clubs that I love and I wanted to share.  First up is from Wooly Wonka Fibers.  I have loved her Shakespeare in Lace themed clubs for the past 3 or 4 years.  Her yarns are outstanding and have so much depth.  The patterns introduce me to new designers and I like the different styles.  For 2013 the theme is switching to Heroines and I'm all in.  There's an accessory club with 2 shipments being socks and the other 2 being shawlettes.  The shawl club will have 4 shipments as well.  All the details for the club is in a group thread and she has information on the inspiration for each shipment.  I signed up for both clubs and hope to participate in the knit alongs and read alongs throughout the year.  I am really looking forward to the first shipment and reading the first book!

The second club that I just renewed this morning is from Anne Hanson of KnitSpot.  She has 2 clubs that run for 6 months at a time.  Fall in Full Color is exactly how it sounds with mainly accessory patterns and gorgeous colors.  It runs from August to January.  Bare Naked runs from February to July and has a range of patterns with undyed yarns.  I did a single dose for the first FIFC then double dose for BNK and back to single again for FIFC 2012.  This morning were the early bird sign ups for BNK 2013 and I decided to go pattern only.  Overall I enjoyed the colors more than the undyed and I want the chance to use yarn from my stash.  I'd also love to spin the yarn for a specific pattern so I'm hoping this will prompt me to do so.  I'm going to see how this goes before deciding what to do for FIFC 2013. 

I am not planning to sign up for any more yarn or fiber clubs for next year since I have a lot on my To Do list but I will be open to the idea if something wonderful comes around.  I wanted to share my favorites because these are the one I will continue to sign up probably for years to come!

Friday, November 16, 2012


I have been slowly running out of room for my yarn stash over the last year.  My knitting and purchasing frequency hasn't changed but I'm spinning now and that handspun quickly makes my stash grow.  A while back I tried to shop for a larger cabinet or a companion cabinet for the one I already had with no luck.  Everything was either too expensive or not appropriate for yarn.  I got some suggestions from Ravelry and then waited until I felt I could make a good decision. 

I finally ended up buying some storage cubes from Target and cloth drawers.  My husband convinced me to get 2 so that I'd have room to grow.  I'm very happy that I did.

That middle cabinet is what my original yarn storage consisted of.  It was packed full and finding anything was a challenge.  The two side units are a total of 24 drawers that are wide enough and deep enough to make storing yarn easy.  I spent most of the morning organizing and labeling but the good news is that there are several drawers that are empty!  I was even able to use 3 of them for fiber braids and that allowed me to actually put the lids on my 3 bins storing my fiber stash. 

I still have some work to do but already I'm feeling better.  I was worried that I would forget what was in each bag but I picked up some dry erase board labels that slide on the handles.  This one is my favorite:

Any yarn that I've received as a gift goes in this one so I can prioritize actually using it so that eventually I won't be an ingrate :)

I'm doing the same for subscription clubs, KR Retreat yarn, charity yarns, sweaters, afghans, handspun categories and random sock yarns that don't have projects assigned.  This has freed up the center cabinet shelves but I haven't completely figured out those yet.   I may use these labels at tags in my Ravelry stash eventually.

 Overall I am very happy now that I can organize easily anytime the mood strikes me and I'm grateful to have such gorgeous yarn in my stash.  Now I just need to win the lottery so I can quit my job and just knit & spin all day!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2012 Knitter's Review Retreat Recap

I had an amazing time at the 2012 Knitter's Review Retreat this past weekend.  It was such a great time that I'm really struggling to get back to normal life and work each day.  I didn't take too many pictures but I did just finish uploading my haul into my Ravelry stash.

I checked in and received my goodie bag:

Very cool stuff here and I loved that there were a couple patterns that went with the yarn included.  That bag has a zipper top too which I love.  I gave the book "Extra Yarn" to my son last night and he actually cheered!  We had read it a while back thanks to our library and he loved it - such a nice touch.  I did gift the hot pink Lopi lace weight yarn to another attendee because I didn't think I would actually knit it up knowing how much I dislike Lopi yarns in general.  Everything else I kept. 

For my first class, I took Mary Scott Huff's Sassy Selbu Mittens and not only do I love the project but I love her too. She is a bundle of energy and good vibes crossed with caffeine and crazy fun!  I ended up ripping out what I did in class but I'm so much happier with what I have knit now since it doesn't have my previous mistakes.  Plus, my picot edge kicks ass!

On Saturday, I was in Sivia Harding's Design Your Own Lace Shawlette.  Sivia is so nice and her designs are now some of my favorites.  I'm seriously thinking about her pattern only Mezzaluna Club for lace shawls, really beautiful patterns.  While I know I will never be comfortable designing my own projects I do feel that I have the knowledge to change patterns when needed.  I left her class inspired to make my own shawlette - I'm just not 100% happy with my choices so far.  I'm very close to figuring it out though. 

Saturday afternoon the market place opened and I got 3 braids of Spirit Trail roving and then debated on a knitting bag from Three Bags Full (I ended up buying it on Sunday).  Sunday morning was "yarn church" and I cast on for my "new beginnings" project. 

Every year they have a stash lounge where people bring in items that they no longer want and take items out.  No money is exchanged and anything left over is donated.  My stash lounge haul included some spinning fiber, a silk lace kit and then some yarn for the NNCS mitten campaign.  I hope the items I brought found a nice new home as well!  I ended up using 4 Wegmans bags to bring everything out to my car.  You can see just about everything I brought home with me here.

I don't think I've ever knit so much in a 4 day span before.  Pretty much from 8 am to 10 or 11 pm at night I was knitting or chatting with new friends.  I was in heaven and I hope that I'm able to attend next year.