Madrona 2014

So this past weekend was the Madrona Fiber Fest. Unluckily for me, I had no idea when class signups were and so I was beyond late and couldn’t sign up for any awesome class. But the marketplace and demonstrations were free, so I decided to make the ~40min trek down to Tacoma for the fest.

It was my first fiber festival and boy oh boy, was it an experience. I went alone, as I don’t know too many people who would want to give up their Saturday for a fiber festival, and thought it would simply be a shopping and watching experience. What I had failed to remember was that fiber people are incredibly friendly people (I’m trying to decide what crowd is friendlier and more welcoming: fiber people or frisbee people – it’s a toughie) and within a couple minutes of walking around the marketplace I was already talking to people about yarn, spinning, fiber, etc.

The first two laps of the marketplace experience were quite overwhelming. Prior to arriving, I set a cash spending limit so as to not go crazy with my purchases (I’ll recap afterwards). In order to absorb it completely, I just walked around the area twice to see what the whole entire experience even had to offer. Throughout that time I also talked to a few people about yarn options, colors, and the sort. After my warmup laps, I headed to the Habu booth since I also set a rule that yarn purchases must be in sweater quantities; no less. My stash consists of far too many single skein entities. In the end, I made out quite successfully with these items:

They include hand carders, some roving, habu yarn, size 17 dpns, some lovely boucle yarn, and an issue of ply.

    

I tried to get an image depicting how lovely the roving is, but I don’t think images or words could describe the silky softness of the camel-silk roving that I’d found. I got the roving from the Carolina Handspun (I think?) booth and it’s to die for. I’m afraid to spin it right now since I’m rather rusty on both my spindles and my wheel, but sooner or later I’m envisioning a delicious single ply.

That is the awesome boucle yarn I got from the Artful Ewe, located in Port Gamble, WA. The ladies at the booth were so sweet and delightful! I’m hoping to create the “Boxy Sweater” out of this…when I get to it.

Last, but not least, is the some of the Habu yarn I got. I love the variety of textures this company comes up with for the yarn…not to mention the amazing contemporary designs. But the textures are what get me every time I see Habu yarns.  I’m hoping to make a lovely, simple cowl out of these two balls.

Afterwards, I checked out the few demonstration booths they had: spinning tips with Sarah Anderson, some 12 pairs of socks being knitted with a magic loop, some kumihimo braiding, and weaving. I finally got to try my hand at a harness floor loom and it was absolutely delightful! (not that I had any doubts that I would enjoy the activity) This cemented the notion of getting a loom and luckily I have a friend who’s trying to get rid of one of her floor looms! As soon as I can figure out how to a) get it to my apartment and b) find a place for it, I’ll have a new toy! SO exciting!!

While I was only able to experience the magic of Madrona for one day this year, I’m going to make every effort to get some classes next year and spend much longer there. Though it was relatively daunting to be there without anyone I knew directly, I’ll definitely like to try sitting, knitting, and absorbing the magic that is fiber people there next year. Maybe between now and then I’ll be able to burst my shy/introverted bubble?

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Madrona 2014

Years and Goals

Stash/Projects

So this blog fell asleep, hibernated for quite a while, and decided to finally wake up under a new address. But it has the same spirit, though new lessons and with more wisdom. But anyway, the new year is such a great time to reassess various aspects of life, and while this entry has been 26 days in the making (granted, my computer was in the shop for half that time, thus making it impossible to actually post), I’ve had some time to reawaken my blog and set some goals for this year, at least crafty goals.

1. Stash/WIP dieting: I think this is a major one that virtually every knitter has. But my yarn stash has grown considerably in the last year and needs to get smaller. Plus I need to start spinning what I have. I hope to purchase only sweater yarn over the next year, and that is for a total of (5) more sweaters this year (at most).

2. Blog twice a week: to me, this doesn’t sound very often. But looking at how long this has slept, this is a pretty lofty goal. Hopefully I won’t let the frisbee season take over too much and still deliver a post or two during the busy summer months.

3. Exploration of dyeing: do some fiber dyeing (yarn and/or wooly things) at least once a month. I forget how quickly I can set up the crockpot and colors and just leave it as I go about my business, and how satisfying it is. Plus having some sock yarn to dye will go perfectly with my hope to knit more socks this year.

4. Finish 1 cross stitching project: currently, I have a Christmas sampler in the embroidery hoop. Strategic placement of this project (next to my bed) hopes that it will get finished slowly by next Christmas so I can send it to my parents.

5. Complete my 2 sewing projects that await: I have one pillow case finished for my living room pillows that took me approximately 1 night after work to do. The other project is a DPN case that has been waiting since Thanksgiving. The former should be a cinch, but my procrastinating mentality always seems to get the better of me.

6. 1 knitted Christmas gift gets finished every 6 weeks. (After April): For any knitter, self explanatory. The last week before I left for my folks’ place for Christmas, I had gotten to the point where I was knitting while walking. I do not intend to be this panicked again. April, because I hope to take an architect’s exam between now and then, and this can wait…the most. (I hope?)

Sure, there are only 6 up there. But the first is really encompassing and extremely general. So as 2014 goes by, we’ll see where I’m at.

I currently have 100g of Knit Picks bare sock yarn in the crock pot and I’ll try to show you all later in the next post. I tried something new; rather than dump some color in the crockpot and see what happened, I soaked the yarn in synthrapol, put it in the crockpot, then used these squirty bottles to put the color in according to how I felt it should be arranged. I’m hoping this will create a tie-dye-ish self striping effect, but we’ll see.

’til next time Mr. Blog…

Years and Goals

Shorely I have to be doing something…

I know, it’s been a while. But I am still trekking along. Tomorrow (I promise) I’ll have more of what’s on the needles and the results of that fiber/project diet. But for now, my progress on Shore Thing, my goal from the diet. The reward.

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Even though all the goals weren’t accomplished, the diet did have to end somehow. Some time. And then shore thing came along…

Shorely I have to be doing something…

Discipline and Self Control

Despite what some may think, the tedious nature of knitting and spinning really aren’t only for people with an extremely meticulous and focused nature. I honestly think it’s quite the contrary. At least such is the case for me. Knitting allows me to float around somewhat aimlessly while remaining productive. That might seem like an oxymoron, but indeed I can do a little of this and that, here and there, yet still feel as if I’m not wasting my life away.

That being said, I started cleaning this past weekend. And found…a ridiculous amount of WIPs. Too many to even begin to count. (This may not be a ton for you, but it’s a ton considering I a) just moved; b) just pared down my yarn stash to half due to that move; c) just started having a regular source of income for yarn) Nevertheless, I’ve come to a decision: no more fibrous purchases and starting any new projects (except “drinking” projects) until I finish all my current WIPs or Lent is over.

Now the meaning behind this decision is multi-faceted and can be interpreted in any way chosen; however I will not be spelling those out.

As of right now, the projects stand (in no particular order)

  • Sweetheart Pullover
  •  Awry
  • Mittens
  • Alpaca Cowl
  • Fingerless Mitts
  • Cadence Socks
  • Striped Socks
  • Lacey Scarf/Shawl
  • Last Summer’s Shirt/Sweater
  • 10-Year Blanket
  • Doily (yeah, I know a tatting project)

Let’s see what the progress is at the end of these six weeks. So far, I’ve finished half of the pair of striped socks…yay?

Til next time!

Discipline and Self Control

Getting Up to Date

And so, it has been almost three weeks. Whoops. No legitimate excuses for my absence but I do have to say, between birthday season and work deadlines, blogging has taken a back seat.

But not knitting or spinning. Well, not exactly spinning but fiber preparation. Project sheep to sweater is well on its way to spinning! Granted, there are plenty of tips/tricks/lessons learned along the way that ultimately slow down the process, but it’ll definitely result in much better yarn. And I’m absolutely loving this raw wool to finished project process.

Some pictures of the process:

From left to right:

Dyed Rambouillet Locks; Carded/Blended Top; Container of Top

Some lessons learned coming tomorrow! (I PROMISE!)

Getting Up to Date

Deception

Being binge crafter, I’ve been on a relatively constant spinning kick this week, meaning I hardly made progress on most of my knitting projects. That’s not to say everything’s been stagnant here.

I’ve finally finished spinning up the batch of wool that I’d gotten when I went out to Whidbey Island in August. I went out there with the intent of just hiking Deception Pass and spending the weekend out there, but the first night I encountered an absolutely lovely craft store in the city of Oak Harbor (where I stayed) where they sold only local fibers, yarns, etc. Moreover, this was an amazing place that had its own workshop where one could dye or spin their wool (among other things) as well. If only I lived closer to this place.

Now deception might be somewhat of a harsh name to give such a lovely fiber and yarn, but I feel that the colors, spinning & plying methods, and place and meaning of the fibers acquired have warranted such a name. It’s exactly what I think of when I see this yarn, for literal and more personal reasons. I have no idea what the different fibers are within this yarn and the colors vary greatly. Funny enough, upon first glance, it appears to be an aqua, teal flavored yarn.  But upon further examination, you can see the variety in fibers really well. And I really do believe the variety gives the yarn an amazing flavor, though it has yet to be knitted up so I’ll keep that in mind.

I’m extremely proud of the thoughts behind this yarn. Being immersed in thoughtful architecture has led me to search for a greater meaning behind every life decision, menial and major. Menial as it may seem, the meaning behind this wool makes spinning and (soon to be) knitting it so much more meaningful and enjoyable. I look at the yarn today and a wave of various feelings comes with a bundle of simple twisted fiber; I can see the twists and turns of life spun into this fiber.  More than just memories come with this fiber; emotions and nostalgia of that time in life.

I never really realized why the prospect of spinning and processing my own wool was so important to me. But after spending some time and thinking through all of the meaning and the ideas behind starting something from the very beginnings, it makes me realize how much each step of life can intrigue me. Knowing and learning about so many different stages in life and other forms of development such as design is absolutely fascinating and just constantly leaves me wanting more. I’m sure everyone has their medium for intrigue…any thoughts?

Deception

Hullo Froggie

The ominous melody of frogs has been following me lately. Such a lovely sound, especially when mixed with the harmony of failure. That goal I set last week to finish the blanket? Fail. But I guess that’s why I make goal to begin with; if I didn’t have any goals then I wouldn’t really get anywhere. If I have them, at least I achieve…something. At least when it comes to knitting. I know for a fact that I rarely ever meet a knitting goal. Or at even any crafting goal to say the least.

Mr. Blankie is plodding along at a snail’s pace, naturally. However, I have made 2 headbands, but only an eighth of one currently exists. I am currently ill with the frogging disease, meaning for non-knitters I am destroying my handiwork. For knitters, I am simply satisfying the perfectionist attitude that goes along with purchasing high quality yarn. Now, a headband may seem like a menial and too simple of a project but when the weather is this:

and I am doing this outside:

(playing ultimate)

and my jacket does this within an hour:

then it’s time for a headband. Though one of my new years resolutions (like so many other knitters out there) was to not buy yarn for myself, I found that none of the yarn in my bin fit the criteria for my pre-imagined headband. Therefore, in keeping with my mission to visit possibly every LYS in the greater Seattle area, I ventured off to the Fiber Gallery. However, this is not the last time I shall be going there. I loved my first trip there, it’s easily accessible by a bus line near my apartment, and the selection was awesome. I loved the variety of materials there. However, no spinning things (at least I didn’t see any). And on top of that, I ordered some wool to mix in to pick up Project Sheep to Sweater once again. I’ll hopefully be dyeing some wool in the very near future.

Anyway, back to the headband. (Geez, I really do go off onto tangents all the gosh darn time!) I feel that any physical activity that warrants heat transmission from the head should go together with a headband. Hats are just too hot after running for a while, plus they always seem to fall off super easily. Moreover, they take so much more yarn than a headband and restrict your line of sight. The beauty of a headband allows your head to breathe while keeping your ears attached to your head. Quite nice, really. Unfortunately, despite such a simple product, I’ve frogged twice already due to the size. First was the ribbing; it was much to thick. Then it was too wide and didn’t fit me (well enough). I’m on my third try…third time’s a charm?

Despite my lack of loyalty to the blanket, I have made plenty of progress on the Inishmore legwarmers and I’m about an inch of ribbing away from being completely finished! Win!! I’ll take pictures of the FO once it’s done tonight, to be posted later. I’ve also made some progress (minimal) on Awry, one of the sleeves. I’ve forgotten how boring/tedious/fun (yeah, I know contradicting each other) this project can be due to the yarn, but constant stockinette. Hopefully that’ll be done by…March??

Pressing on with the headband.

Stay warm everyone! Let’s hope Seattle remains blue for the next couple days/weeks?

Hullo Froggie