Friday, March 30, 2012

New Pattern, New Winner, New Award!


Hi Knitters,
First off, I am so honored to have won the Readers' Choice Award for 2012 for Favorite Knitting Blog/Website! Thank you so much for the nomination and for voting for the award. It is quite a thrill. I was lucky enough to be asked for an interview after winning the award, too. 

I especially want to thank my loyal and fun Ravelry Group, Itty-Bitty Knits, for voting for me. I know they helped greatly. I will proudly display the award logo on my blog sidebar. Thank you, again, to everyone for voting and for the support!

Click here to see more about the Readers' Choice Award Winners!  There are winners for the knitting categories of favorite yarn company, favorite needles, favorite book, and favorite designer along with my category for favorite knitting blogger/website.


I love everything about this blog and have enjoyed the work I have lovingly poured into it for the past six years. It feels good to know that others are enjoying it, too. 

On to other news, I randomly selected and contacted a winner for a copy of Kata Golda's Hand-Stitched Felt book. The winner is deliamae (rav id)! Congratulations! Thanks to everyone who entered and I will have another giveaway and review soon.


Now for the new pattern! In case you don't know about the original hat photographed in my blog banner, it was knit in my own handspun worsted weight yarn from Fiber Optic Yarn gradient roving. It was a gorgeous hat, one of my favorites for sure. One day last fall my daughter bustled off to school wearing this hat. I hesitated a little but decided not to say anything and to let her wear it. That was the last time I saw the hat. It has been lost ever since.

I posted the photo on my blog banner and I have received many, many requests for the pattern which I didn't write down at the time I made the original hat. I have now re-knit the hat in Malabrigo Worsted and I have written out the pattern.

Here are a few more shots of the handspun version of the hat:






Above is the beautiful Miss Molly modeling the Malabrigo Worsted version of the Lost Banner Hat. The Malabrigo Worsted is the perfect yarn for this hat. Really, any worsted weight yarn in wool, any wool blends, superwash wool or cotton will work great for this project. You only need one skein or about 200 yards of worsted weight yarn to make the hat!


Here is some information you might like to know about the pattern:

Size: child (adult)

Finished measurement: 17.5 inches (19 inches)
Note: The finished hat is very stretchy and is to be worn with up to 3-4 inches of negative ease. The adult size easily fits my head circumference, which is 22 inches.

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted (100% merino wool; 100 grams/210 yards), 1 hank

Samples are made in Malabrigo Worsted in the Kaleidos colorway, and my own worsted weight handspun from Fiber Optic Yarn and Dyeabolical Yarns.

Needles: US size 7 (4.5mm), 16-inch circular and a set of 4 double-pointed needles or the size needed to obtain gauge

Gauge: 5 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch

Materials:
Ruler or tape measure
Scissors
Stitch marker
Yarn needle



The photo above is the top of the Malabrigo Worsted version of the hat. Doesn't almost everyone have a skein of Malabrigo sitting on their shelf? Here is the perfect project for that languishing skein!


The hat above is made in my worsted weight handspun. The roving was from Dyeabolical Yarns and Fiber. The yarn turned out great and I love the finished hat. If you are a spinner with a skein of worsted handspun with around 200 yards, this pattern could be for you.


The pattern for the Lost Banner Hat is available in my Ravelry pattern shop. You don't have to belong to Ravelry to purchase patterns on Ravelry, it is open to everyone.

I hope you enjoy the new hat pattern. It is a simple unisex hat that is for children, women, men, teens, everyone! It is the perfect quick gift knit and can be worn many ways.

Click here for the Ravelry project page for the Lost Banner Hat! 

Click on the button below to purchase the hat pattern for the Lost Banner Hat!


Wow! What a week it has been. I found out that Itty-Bitty Hats, my first book, is going into its 7th printing, which is amazing news. I won this fantastic award. And best of all, I get to come on this blog every few days and share time with all of you! Thanks for the support and fun. I love being here with you.

best, susie

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kata's Hand-Stitchery ~ a giveaway & review for you!


Important News! The publisher, STC, just contacted me and has offered a copy of Hand-Stitched Felt to a winner! This is now a giveaway post. Please leave one comment with an email address or rav id on this post to win a copy of Kata's beautiful little book of felted whimsy!

Hi Knitters,
I took a brief break from yarn and knitting a couple of weekends ago. I had been knitting up a storm for some deadlines and needed a quick reprieve. I looked at my bookshelves and pulled out Kata Golda's Hand-Stitched Felt. I am completely taken with these sweet, innocent, childlike, hand-stitched designs. I have never met a more charming book than this one. I am a complete fool for hand-stitching and wool felt.

I have been wanting to make one of Kata's creations for a long time and I happen to have quite a nice collection of wool felt from Purl sitting in my stash. I seized the day!


These adorable little animals caught my eye right away. Each animal is about 11 inches tall so they are a good-sized stuffed toy. It was hard to choose which one to make first because they are all so cute. The clothes are just as sweet and hard to choose from.

Here is what I decided upon...


..... Kata's mouse!

I started out with this sweet pink mouse wearing the shirt and pants. I just love the way it turned out. The pattern templates are all included in the back of the book so it is all right at your fingertips. I used computer paper to trace the pattern. For the wool felt, I soaked it in Soak Wash and put it in the dryer to soften it up before cutting and stitching. Then it smells good, too.


The toy is stuffed firmly and with the layers of wool felt and tiny hand-stitching, it feels like heaven in your hands. I really wish you could hold this mouse. You would instantly want to make one of your own. A handmade toy is like nothing else.

Kata's instructions were very clear and easy to follow. This is my first felt hand-stitched toy and I didn't have any troubles at all along the way. I love how the outer seams are done in a simple blanket stitch, one of my favorite stitches. I also love the little imperfections hand-stitching brings to a project.


I added my own embroidered details. I loved making the clothes and picking out the colors so much. I was so inspired by Kata's designs that I immediately had to try designing my own little felt animals.


See that little bunny in the green dress? That's from my own sketch that I then cut out from the paper I drew it on and used as a pattern. I appliqued a tiny carrot on the dress. It turned out very sweet.


I then wanted to try my hand at making a bear. I sketched out a bear and although not finished yet, it is turning out really cute! I'll remember to share him when I finish. I see many more felt toys in my future.


Next up for another felt project for me are these tiny Everyday Journals. I am obsessed with tiny journals and handmade books so this should be perfect. What a great gift idea, too! I'll keep you posted.

In fact, speaking of gifts, these projects work up incredibly fast and are perfect for personalized and thoughtful gift giving. The hand-stitching and imperfections make them so freeing and fun to make. You can do no wrong. Hand-Stitched Felt is packed full of little handmade gift confections. Other projects included are a glasses case, a little purse, a stationary pouch, a door sign, a pincushion, a potholder, and finger puppets to name a few. 

I am so charmed by Kata's designs and sketches. I think you will love this book, too.



Let me know if you have tried something from this book or if you are inspired to try something!

And now, don't forget to leave a comment to win a copy of this adorable book!

Happy Wednesday.
best, susie

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shawl Beginnings


Hi Knitters,
I shared this gigantic hank of my handspun a couple of weeks ago. The yarn is spun from two 4 oz. braids of Dyeabolical fiber. I was able to get over 1,000 yards of a fingering weight yarn. It is just kind of a fun and crazy hank of yarn.


The other morning I wound the enormous hank into a yarn cake on my not-so-trusty and very old ball winder. It went surprisingly well.


Here is what I got! It's so cool.

The handspun cake is so huge compared to a wound ball of Quince & Co. Lark which is 134 yards.


And off I go knitting on Laura Linneman's Thin Ice shawl. Last Sunday morning was beautiful weather-wise, and I sat outside with my family enjoying the fresh air and sunshine and I worked away on my Thin Ice. It was a lovely morning. 

The shawl is divided up into different sections of stitch patterns, including a section of stockinette stitch, which keeps things interesting. It is incredibly fun and fast to work on and the handspun makes it even better if that's possible. I highly recommend this pattern. I can't wait to finish and block it out. This will be my first handspun shawl.

Well, I just have this quick knitterly share with you today! I hope all is well with you, dear Knitters.
See you back here soon.
best, susie

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Toy of Your Choice Class


Hi Knitters,
Well, I see that lots and lots of people love to knit hats and would love to have a copy of Weekend Hats. Thanks for the enthusiastic entries to win a copy of the book. I have randomly selected a winner and have notified her. Congratulations to Gabby of NYC! Gabby, you need to email me your mailing address. Thank you to everyone for entering. I'll have another giveaway very soon.

On the teaching front, I haven't taught much since the fall season of last year so I am excited to get back into it at the Knit Circus Spring Retreat along with some other fine instructors!

My class is now up on the site and open for registration as are the other classes being offered. The retreat is Saturday, April 14th, in Madison, Wisconsin (yay!!) and the other teachers are Stephannie Tallent, Amy Detjen and Jaala Spiro. The retreat is located at the Hampton Inn West. Click here for location information.

Click here for the Knit Circus Spring Retreat classes!

I am only teaching one morning class so spots are limited. The class is from 9-12am.


I am teaching a Knit a Toy of Your Choice class.  I am providing the patterns for the Owl Babies that you see here in the photos AND for my Tiny Lamb ornament that is currently an unpublished pattern, it is completely adorable and fun! You get to choose which pattern you want to work on during the class. I am going to do in class toy-making demonstrations and will have some tips and tricks to share along the way.

Click here to see the information for the Owl Babies!

The Owl Babies are knit in one piece (except for the feet) and the pattern has a bunch of fun techniques involved. It is a tiny knitting adventure.


Of course I will have some fun giveaways, too. Both the Tiny Lamb and the Owl Babies are about 3 inches tall.  They are small toys knit in worsted weight so they both work up quickly! You will get quite a lot done during the class and I bet some will even finish!


Again, click here to register or just check out the options for the retreat! 

If you have already knit the two toys I have planned for the class but you'd like to join us, please come and work on any other toy design of mine.  I would love to have you join us to do some toy knitting. I am really looking forward to getting back in the classroom as teaching is my first love.

Hope to see you there!


Now if I can ever get to it, I have two new versions of my lost banner (the photo at the top of my blog) hat re-knit in one hank of Malabrigo Worsted and another in my handspun yarn. I have gotten more requests for this hat pattern than I can count so I finally knit it up again and wrote it out. Making the pattern for the aptly titled, Lost Banner Hat, is next up on my list for the blog. I can't wait to get this pattern out!

Happy Sunday! I hope to see you in class on April 14th, in my lovely city of Madison.
best, susie

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Weekend Hats Giveaway!


Updated on March 25th, 2012:  The giveaway for Weekend Hats is now closed. No more entries are being taken. There will be another giveaway soon!

Hi Knitters,
I have been given the go-ahead by Interweave to offer you a copy of the delicious book, Weekend Hats, a collaborative hat pattern book curated and authored by Melissa LaBarre and Cecily Glowik-MacDonald.

I was lucky enough to be asked to contribute a hat for this fantastic, diverse hat pattern collection. The designers in the book include Melissa and Cecily, of course, and Jared Flood, Tanis Gray, Mary Jane Mucklestone, Gudrun Johnston, Kirsten Kapur, Cirilia Rose, Carrie Bostick Hoge, Melissa Wehrle, Kristen TenDyke, Courtney Kelley, Connie Chang Chinchio, Natalie Larson, Jennifer Lang, Elisabeth Parker, Anne Kuo Lukito, Laura Irwin, Kate Gagnon Osbourne, and Jocelyn Tunney. I hope I didn't leave anyone out. It is an excellent group of designers and the hats offered are amazing and fun.

Click here to see all of the 25 hat patterns on Ravelry!

As someone who loves to wear and design and knit hats, I simply adore this book and I think you will, too. The personality of each of the designers is really reflected in their individual designs. I love that on many of the hats you can tell who designed which hat just by looking at the photo.

Here are a few of my favorite designs in the book, I really love them all though.


Mary Jane Mucklestone is the colorwork master! Here is her beautiful hat that is signature Mary Jane. It is perfection and I especially love the colorful brim.


Jocelyn Tunney designed this clever cable hat. It's adorable and simple with the interesting cable feature that makes you take a second (or third) glance. Well done!


What is better than a simple striped beret worked in luxurious yarn? Nothing! Courtney Kelley combined beautiful colors to create this winner of a hat.


That Gudrun Johnston is one of my favorite designers. I have the yarn and patterns all set to make both her Kerrara cardigan and the Levenwick cardigan in the near future (I just need to find some time!). I love a fun and fast changing colorwork hat like this. Gorgeous Rowan Tweed is used to create this one.


Here is my design. This is possibly my favorite adult hat design of mine ever. It is not ruched as it is called for some reason, the Ruche Beret, but it is really a pleated hat at the brim. Pleats are more like overlapping folds and ruching is more like a ruffling technique. The hat is knit from the top-down, increased on one side and then pleated on that increased side right before the brim starts.

Click here for the Ravelry project page for the Ruche Beret!

Click here to see the book on Amazon!


My oldest son took this photo of me in the hat right before I sent it off to Interweave. I use it as my identifying photo on Ravelry and Twitter and Facebook now and I get asked about the pattern all of the time which is fun!

Okay, if you are interested in winning a copy of Weekend Hats please leave only one comment on this blog post. Please leave your Ravelry ID or an email address (whatever you are comfortable with) where I can easily reach you if you win. I will need to gather your mailing address to send off to Interweave so they can send you your book!

Good luck and let the comments begin!
best, susie
p.s. I am teaching only one morning class, from 9-12am, at the Knit Circus Retreat in Madison on this coming April 14th! Click here to see the classes and register! My class isn't listed yet so check back if you are interested, it should be up later today. I am teaching a "knit a toy of your choice" class where I will provide the patterns for the Owl Babies and my unpublished Tiny Lamb pattern (trust me, it's adorable)! It's going to be loads of fun. More later but I just wanted to let you know about it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kids Included

video

Hi Knitters,
I hope you all had a great weekend. It was an unseasonably warm and weather record breaking one for us. We enjoyed the great outdoors all weekend long which is always fun.

I have two book reviews for you this morning, both are aimed at children. If you are anything like me, you enjoy the illustrated picture books just as much if not more than the kids. I am a children's book collector of sorts.

The first book is called, Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett (I might have said Mark in the video), and it is illustrated by Jon Klassen. The story and illustrations are fun and interesting and really different. I love this book and so do many other knitting bloggers, podcasts, and sites. I have seen Extra Yarn reviewed just about everywhere you could think of ....click here to read another review and see more illustrations from the book.

The other book I reviewed in the video is Crafty Chloe by, Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by, Heather Ross. I forget to mention her name, Heather Ross, while I am talking about her accomplishments as an illustrator and sewing and fabric designer. Click here for Heather's other book, and click here for her blog. Crafty Chloe is such a sweet and clever story about how being yourself works out for the best in the end. I love this one, too.

I have a few more knitting book reviews set for this week and a giveaway and a new pattern release. I've been knitting away on some new work projects and neglecting my personal projects a bit. I'll get back to some of those this week, hopefully.

I hope you are all well and I'll be back soon with more!
best, susie

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chirps from Ravelry

(photo by Zuza)
Hi Knitters,
I received a message on Ravelry from Zuza or Juliette, who lives in France. She wanted to share her first color work project with me. She took the Egg to Bluebird pattern, from Itty-Bitty Toys, and Easter-ized it with fantastic color!

I asked permission to share her adorable and colorful twist on this pattern and she said yes. I'd say her first color work is quite successful.

(photo by Zuza)

Aren't they cute? These birds look like candy or Peeps. I just love it when knitters throw in a new idea to a pattern. In case you don't know, the eggs turn inside out and become the little birds. Thank you for sharing, Zuza!

On another note, Nancy, the inventor of the Try-It-On Tubing I mentioned last week, contacted me on Ravelry with a fun update.  I thought you might enjoy her message (sharing with permission, of course):


Sent at 4:02 PM March 7, 2012
Hi Susan,
Monday morning started with a bang when at 5:30 a.m. I was awakened at by an earthquake centered in the Bay Area town 5 blocks away. No damage, but unsettling and I couldn’t go back to sleep. At 6:00, my cell phone started making the noise it does when a Paypal order comes through. Then, like popcorn, it sounded again and again and again. And it does that throughout the day, one tubing order after another. I did some scouting around on the Internet and traced the buzz to your blog and someone else’s post on a Ravelry forum.
Thank you so very much for your kind and favorable words about my tubing. It’s a simple product, but it does the trick. I used to use fish tank tubing, but it was only good for larger sized needles. I researched and started manufacturing it a number of years ago, but it has only recently picked up attention. It’s people like you that make that happen. Well I must go to pack more orders, but had to stop and thank their source.
With much appreciation,



One last knitterly update, I am working on the applied lace edging for Paula's Piper's Journey Shawl. I am knitting in Quince & Co.'s Chickadee (dk weight) in the Iceland colorway. It's so beautiful and the pattern is so well written. It's one of those simple but clever patterns which are usually the best kind of projects. The needles? I am doing a review on those coming up and I have a bunch of books to review and a couple to giveaway. 

Not to belabor the point, but I feel it is worth mentioning. Thank you to those continuing to vote in the Readers' Choice Favorite Knitting Blogger/Website Award nominations. I can't believe it! Thank you!! You can see the results so far by clicking here. It's kind of funny. The voting still goes on until March 21st so things could change but in the meantime, I appreciate you! I keep hearing from people and knitters and from my Itty-Bitty Knits Ravelry group who are voting everyday and that's such an appreciated effort.

best, susie
p.s. I just received the photos from my upcoming book and they are incredible! Liz Banfield strikes again with her amazing talents. I am so excited about it. Can't wait to share.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Another Day in the Life

video

Hi Knitters,
Here is a quick 35 second video of one of the hikes TC and I have been taking lately. Click here if you are receiving this post in an email and can't see the video. I snapped the photos with my phone so they aren't the best.

After school we have been heading out into our nearby nature conservancy and other trails. Today my hands were filled with bark, moss and pinecones that she collected for some new fairy houses she is conjuring up. She has big plans for construction this spring and summer. I can't wait to see what she comes up with.

We clearly have spring fever.

Today is my mom's 80th birthday. I miss her.

best, susie
p.s. Do you see that finger sticking in the left side of the photo below? That was my grandma's signature move. Her finger was in nearly every shot. I love that.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Weaving by Angela


Hi Knitters,
Many years ago I started following a blog by a young woman who lives in New York City. She caught my eye as one to follow due to her energetic and talented crafting. She excels at many crafts, sewing, knitting, crochet, weaving, quilting and baking and cooking! She is also the mother of an adorable little girl. Yes, Angela's been busy crafting for years but just recently she has broken into the knitting design world and has quickly taken it by storm. You may recognize her blog, Oiyi's Crafts, but did you see her first cover on Knit Simple?


Angela has been featured in various magazines and books and now she has her own online class from Craftsy.com on Rigid Heddle Weaving. I have always wanted to learn to weave on a loom and now I have my chance. I hear that Craftsy.com is even selling the Cricket Looms and that is where I am getting mine! I can't wait to dive into Angela's weaving class. I love that Craftsy, they are doing so much for the crafting community.


I got the chance to meet Angela in person last June at TNNA and it was such a treat for me. She is as sweet and sunny and fun as you might imagine. Angela is really on the move as she is quickly rising to the top of the designer community because she works very, very hard at her crafts and teaching. I am just thrilled to see such a charming, smart and talented young designer take off!

Click here for her profile page on Ravelry!

Click here for Angela's designs on Ravelry!

Click here for Angela's fantastic blog!

Here is a blurb about the class from Angela from the Craftsy site:


A Note from Angela Tong, Instructor of Rigid Heddle Weaving
Weaving is more than fun. It's creative, relaxing, and rewarding. When you weave, you bring together different yarns and fabrics and unify them in a single, unique project. Weaving is versatile: Make clothes, accessories and home decor in fibers from plain to fancy. Even if you've never touched a loom before, I can teach you to make wonderful projects. My class will introduce you to two different looms, and guide you through preparation, the weaving process, and a range of finishing techniques. Enroll in this class, and we'll have fun and weave beautiful things!

What You Will Learn in Rigid Heddle Weaving

  • How to set up, use, and maintain 10- and 24-inch looms
  • How to create a warp
  • How to calculate correct yardage
  • How to use different fibers and colors in one project
  • How to weave two towels at a time on a single warp
  • How to produce plaid projects
  • How to finish projects with trims and fringes

Projects You Will Make in Rigid Heddle Weaving

  • A fresh, funky "stashbuster" scarf
  • A set of plaid cotton tea towels
  • Apply the techniques to make table runners, wraps, washcloths, and more

It's me again! Doesn't that sound fun? Plus, you can do it all right at home!  If you click right here you can get Angela's online course for 50% off!! It's usually $59.99 but for now it is $29.99! Craftsy runs sales off and on at different times for all of their courses so keep your eye out if you're interested.

Remember that you can watch the course at your own leisure and time frame. Once you purchase the online course it is always there for you. 

I hope I see you over on Craftsy! I have two online courses on Craftsy, too, The Not So Itty-Bitty Giraffe and the Wee Ones Seamless Knit Toys classes. It is a fun site in general. They have pdf patterns for sale now, too. I have only uploaded two patterns for sale so far but I will get them all on my Craftsy pattern shop eventually.


By the way, I have to thank you for voting (if you did and still are) on the Favorite Knitting Blog/Website nomination on About.com. I really appreciate it!


I'll be back soon with lots more knitting stuff and patterns and books and projects and yarn...... I have so much to post about this week that I doubt I'll get it all in.


best, susie

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Big and Little Acts of Kindness

 (Photo from last Sunday in Madison, a beautiful snowy spring day.)

Hi Knitters,
Well, I just had the nicest surprise! My buddy on Ravelry, Becky (gathersnomoss), let me know that my little blog has been nominated for a Favorite Knitting Blogger/Website Readers' Choice Award and it is because of you, the readers, taking the time to nominate me. I had no idea. I am so touched and honored. The write up on the site is incredibly kind and sweet. I am appreciative and a little overwhelmed at this unexpected happening. Thank you!

Click here to see the nomination for Favorite Knitting Blogger/Website Readers' Choice Awards on About.com! 

The competition is stiff to say the least. Now, I am nominated with Ravelry (the entire site, not the blog), Knitty (also the entire site, not the blog), The Yarn Harlot, and Yarnista. I think that is a hoot! It's like the little engine that could.

You can vote once a day through March 21st for your favorite. It doesn't have to be for me, I just appreciate the fact that I am nominated. So thank you to anyone who voted for the wonderful and kind nomination.


I've mentioned that I have been showered with unexpected kindness lately. There is something in the air I guess as I don't really have any other explanation for it. For example, a few years ago a woman contacted me on Ravelry. Her son was in a very serious and precarious health situation. She was having some very dark days. She was writing to tell me how while she was in the hospital waiting with her son she would read my blog and knit. The time spent on my blog was somehow comforting to her. She was thanking me for the distraction from her worries. 

I wrote her back and asked if I could send her a little something in the mail. Honestly, I can't even remember exactly what I sent her but I am sure it was some yarn and a pattern or some other fun knitting related items. She wrote me back a while later to tell me that her son pulled through and was doing well. I was so relieved.

Ever since that time, every once in a while I get a little package in the mail from this kind woman, Gabi. It is always unexpected. She makes the most beautiful handmade greeting cards and notecards. She has sent me stacks of them along with other things. I have been so lucky to be on the receiving end of her talents. I love how she handwrites a letter to me each time. The other day a package was delivered with this adorable hand-stitched beaded doughnut. It is just so sweet. I love the tag, too. She included a three page handwritten letter, like from an old long lost friend. I just love it. The letter is the sweetest little thing ever. 

Gabi's quiet, humble kindness reminds me of all of the good in people. She never asks for anything in return at all, nothing. Pure goodness.

It's these little things that mean so much, like getting a photo of a newborn baby in a handknit hat, or of the generous charity hat and toy knitting that constantly goes on all over the world, or of an elderly beloved grandma hugging a handmade knit toy, or a grandpa who is in a nursing home getting a knit lap blanket made from a baby blanket pattern, or the big group of Itty-Bitty Knitters (my forum group on Ravelry) gathering from all over the globe, literally, at Rhinebeck this fall to meet each other in person for the first time, or receiving a gigantic handknit patchwork blanket from this same group who I love so dearly....

These are the kinds of big and little things I will always remember about the past 6 years here on this blog. 

Knitters, you have changed my life for the better.

Thank you.
best, susie

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Spin It Good


Hi Knitters (and Spinners),
I have been spinning a bit here and there. Last week I pulled out a Loop Bullseye Bump that I purchased a few months ago. I have been anxious to try this one out as it is kind of unique. The bumps are one of a kind and self-striping.


The fun thing is that it is a center pull bump with a generous weight of 5.4 oz. The colorway is named a very fitting, Mediterranean Sun. I adore spinning this one as it doesn't need any pre-drafting and it is just nice to have it come to you and be ready to spin right off the bat (or batt). It is spinning up very fine.

I'll keep you posted as I finish this. I have a new thing I am trying for the plying so it should be interesting. My first bobbin of singles is full and so I had to start a second bobbin but pull from the outside of the bump to keep the striping in order when I ply. That made me stop and think for a minute to work that out.

Click here for the Loop etsy shop!


Here is another fun spin that I finished up. One of my favorite indie dyers, Rachel, of Dyeabolical Yarns, put up these sparkle batts and I just had to try one out. I haven't spun from a batt or with sparkle fiber before so this was a new experience. The batt contains 4 oz. of bfl wool, merino wool, tussah silk and firestar (the sparkly stuff) all blended together.

I just pulled the batts apart into strips and started spinning, no pre-drafting. I used the larger whorl on my Ladybug to get a heavier weight yarn. I envisioned something kind of rustic and textured and that's what I got.


This is the first half spun up waiting to by plied.


And here is the final product! I did a simple 2-ply. Isn't it gorgeous? It really turned into a bouncy, squishy worsted weight yarn. After I gave it a long bath in Soak and let it dry for a couple of days it plumped up so much. It is almost like a different yarn after the wash. It smells sooooo good, too, Sola Soak Wash.


The colors are fun and interesting. I especially like the peeks of orange and the lime green, spectacular! I got 186 yards of worsted weight out of the 4 oz. I spun this up so fast and furiously. I just love the end result. It's funny because you really can't see the sparkle in the photos at all, it is subtle in person as well but if the light hits it just right you can definitely see the firestar throughout the yarn.


I caked it right up and cast on a project. That project is already done and I am writing up the pattern. I also cast on another version worked up in Malabrigo worsted so there is a comparable easy to find yarn to make the pattern. As soon as that sample is done I will get the pattern up and available for you!


At the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival last May of 2011 I purchased some braids of roving from the Dyeabolical booth. It was so great to get to see everything in person. Rachel, the owner and dyer, suggested combining these two different colorways and I thought that sounded pretty interesting. The best part of spinning for me is trying all kinds of new things and techniques.

Above are the two 4 oz. braids I spun as singles and then plied together to make a gigantic 2-ply hank of yarn. Both braids were 100% superwash merino wool top.


I pre-drafted to make these gigantic wound balls to spin from.  They are so fluffy and weightless to hold  when wound up like this.


Here are the more purple/blue/magenta singles on the bobbin.


 Here are the more tan/green/blue singles on the bobbin....


Well, here is what I ended up with! It's a gigantic, fun, amazing hank of 1,056 yards of fingering weight handspun! TC made the tag for me which I love.


This was an epic spin for me because of the huge yardage. I am going to make La La's Thin Ice Shawl with this. I've purchased the pattern and have it printed out and ready to go. The pattern calls for around 800 yards of a fingering weight so either I will make it bigger to use up the yardage, but it is already a super big shawl, or I will make a hat with the leftover.  We'll see. I will cast on as soon as I finish up a couple of shawls I am currently working on.

I love the end result. It is pretty crazy. I think the main color turned out to be blue which I didn't really get from the braids. It's sometimes surprising what the end yarn looks like compared to the roving at the start.
 

Here are my two spun babies together. You can see how gigantic the fingering weight 8 oz.  hank turned out when next to the 4 oz. worsted weight. Whoa.

Click here for the Dyeabolical Yarns and Spinning Fibers website!

Is anyone spinning anything out there? I'd love to hear about it!

Guess what? I'm almost done editing my manuscript for the first run. Whoot! I am on the last pattern this morning. I still have so much work to do on this book that I can't even think about it. So. Much. Left. To. Do.

Book making is an incredibly slow and long process so patience is a good thing.

Happy Tuesday, Knitters and Spinners!
best, susie