February 21, 2011

Spinning, knit-a-long, fiber retreat, and what’s to come!

Life has been busy and exciting and I have a bunch of things to show you and tell you about!  There is a Betiko knit-a-long about to get started, hosted by awesome spinner Blonde Chicken!  She has even spun up a bunch of yarn kits made especially for Betiko shawls!  How cool is that?!  Of course, you can join in the knit-a-long fun with any yarn you want to use, but handspun is definitely encouraged!

spun by me!

These photos are some of my handspun I’ve made recently… I might have to use one of them for a Betiko once I start seeing all the sure to be gorgeous handspun versions popping up.  I love looking through the Betiko projects, because the shawls can all look so different from each other – this stripey one on Michelynntires blog is beautiful!  And for this one blogged on OtterWise, she came with her own custom outer edging!  Ohdessa Knits also designed her own lacy edging, which she shares on her blog – it’s so pretty!

spun by me!

And in other handspun-related news… I’ve been going through a spinning phase!  I hadn’t really spun in the last year or so, just a couple of single skeins here and there.  I think it was because I was doing the recycled spun yarn every month for my old club and it made me not want to spin anything besides that (because recycled spinning for the club quantity was really tedious).  But then I decided to pick up the wheel again a few weeks ago and have been really into it!  Above is some 2-ply spun from Spunky Eclectic‘s BFL wool dyed in the Aspen colorway, love it so much!  And below is some bulky art yarn, spun to be fuzzy and full of big slubby bits, striping from all these colors of merino I got from Black Sheep fiber festival a couple years ago.  (I haven’t washed/blocked either yet, I was just too excited to photograph them and show you!)

spun by me!

Sort of related to spinning, I took a spontaneous trip on the train last Thursday to Madrona fiber arts retreat in Tacoma!

Madrona trip Madrona trip

I found out my buddies Star, Vivian, and Sorren has decided to go on Wednesday night, and I was leaving for the train station at 7am the next morning!  It was a whirlwind of fibery goodness, I’m so glad I went for it!

Madrona trip

It was at this amazing hotel – Hotel Murano – and while we weren’t there for long, we did find a little time to sit and knit under that Chuck Close in the cozy fireplace area.  Such a great location for a fiber retreat, I just wish we were able to be there for the whole weekend instead of one day!  (Maybe next year…)

Madrona trip

In the overwhelmingly-full-of-cool-stuff marketplace, we got to try out these way too fun hand-built electric spinners, by Hansen Crafts.  It was really fun and easy to use and all of us agreed that someday when we win the lottery / sell out / have an extra $700 we just need to get rid of, we are totally getting one!  Another highlight was us talking Vivian into getting this best puppet ever!  And by the way, Vivian has some more excellent photos of our adventure on her fabulous blog here!

Madrona trip Madrona trip

I had a tiny budget for the day, but I did get one braid of spinning fiber since I realized I has never spun Targhee before – this gorgeously dyed wool is from Sweet Grass Wool, in the Arizona colorway.  (That reminds me, if you’re a lover of sheep, you must see the documentary Sweetgrass if you haven’t already!)

to be spun!

I also got a small silk hankie – just enough to try out the knitting technique in this blog post that I totally fell in love with (along with just about every knitter in the world!).  If I enjoy knitting with this little trial-sized hankie, I’ll go for one of the amazingly beautiful Blue Moon hankies!  And, speaking of Blue Moon, for my birthday I got a massive 8 ounces of this handpainted Polwarth roving (another type of wool I’ve never spun before!) in the River Rocked colorway – so huge and squishy and those colors and… yeah, it’s pretty much the best thing ever!  (Thanks Pete’s parents!!!!)

to be spun!

Aaaand, also for my birthday (thanks Star!!!!) I got this… ack I feel like I keep saying the words beautiful and gorgeous and amazing too much, but it’s all of those things… Black Trillium merino/bamboo blend in the Too Many Pumpkins colorway.  I love it so much!!  So, once I get really back into practice with spinning and I trust myself to do these fibers justice, you’ll be seeing yarns made from them!

to be spun!

And, mostly just for more eye candy… this is a yarn I spun a year ago, with Spunky Eclectic hand-dyed shetland, all big and squishy, which I hadn’t gotten around to photographing until now (except for the singles on the bobbins here).  Love it!

spun by me!

This one was spun with some various batts from fiber festivals (like these), in long striping sections in a kind of uneven single ply…

spun by me!

…which was then knit into this, yumyum handspun garter stitch!

handspun garter stitch

And that leads me to something else exciting I can tell you about… I am finally starting actual tangible work on my ebook, which I’ve been slowly planning for the last year!  It was originally going to be a recycled-yarn-making ebook, with patterns to go with all the different kinds of yarns, including recycled spun, hand-dyed, and more… Well, after months of planning, brainstorming, outlining, I decided that was just an unrealistically huge undertaking and I came up with the idea of splitting it into 2 volumes – the first will be recycled yarns with no dyeing (super detailed on how to recycled sweaters into new yarns, and recycled spun yarns in tons of different styles, etc)…

Wrapped Up In Books Coming Up Roses

So, that garter stitch project above is a first prototype of a pattern which isn’t ready to show you yet, and I’ve also started work on a hat pattern for the book.  Work on this book will not be a secret, so I’ll show you progress as I go, and once I have a couple actual items to show from it, I’ll start selling book pre-orders.  My plan is to release each pattern as it’s ready – so, if you pre-order the ebook, then you’ll get new patterns one at a time until the whole book is finished and released.  So that’s that plan.  I have a lot of other stuff going on too, so I’m not able to fully focus on it yet, but I’m pretty excited about it!

And I’ll leave you with one more handspun photo, because I love this one so much!

spun by me!

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