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Sidetracked, Again (or is that always?)

Ok, I admit it, I just might have a BIT of an issue with sticking to one thing, lol. It’s like some kind of ‘ooooooh shiny, soooooo pretty’ disease. I have so many projects on the go that it’s truly ridiculous.

There is the sweater I am knitting out of handspun light fingering weight yarns, in stripes. The white is cormo/merino hand combed and blended with very fine alpaca, two ply. The coloured yarn is a hand carded silk/wool blend, 2 ply.

the yarn

close up

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The yarn I really did finish (yay, one for me, save the part where there are half a bobbin of singles waiting to be plied into yarn, should I get around to finishing the other ply), created from hand processed, hand combed cormo/fdt fleece from mmfwool….

'dilbert' cormo/fdt 2 ply lace weight

'dilbert' wool cormo/fdt 2 ply lace

So far I have two skeins of this, around 700 metres, I’d guess. And I would be guessing, lol, since I have yet to count the strands 🙂

The ‘ooh shiny’ which I just started yesterday. Days off work are fantastic!

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Hand dyed silk, cormo/merino fleece and super-soft-camel fluff…it is divine….

blending for 'moss'

And, certainly not last, simply last for today – some super soft gloves I’m working on, created with handspun angora bunny/hand dyed silk blended yarn.

glove project

the pink bunny wool (angora/silk)

Thankfully winter is a few months away!

Update Time!

I finished the handspun sweater I’ve been working on…

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It’s the 97-18 Tailored Cardigan by Drops Design – a free pattern which I modified only slightly in my version. I worked without seams and used a three needle bind off for the shoulders. Also, I used small size but medium length throughout. I think in the body I could have gone a little longer still.

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I ended up with a little more yarn than I needed, even!

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The grandbaby isn’t here yet but should be here any day now. I’m so excited! I’ve made a little blanket – probably the last in the ‘baby collection’ for now.

It uses the ‘curve of pursuit’ idea though not the pattern (since I don’t have it). I like it very much….

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I am now working in spinning some beautiful GREENS – again, superwash merino from The Black Lamb in Port Hope.

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I was mixing up the colours in a certain-yet-random-way and NOW I’ve run out of some of them. So, I’m working on making a coordinating yarn to go with the 770 metres, or so, of the first yarn. There is a tunic I want to crochet. Badly.

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We’ll have to see how it goes….

Back To My Spinning Wheel…

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I’m hoping to spin enough 2 ply yarn for a light weight sweater 🙂 It feels good to be working with fibre and using my wheel again, after so many months of focusing on other things!

Since finances SUCK this year for us, I’m using mostly stash yarns and fibre in all my projects. I am out of sweater-lots of wool so if I want to knit anything bigger than socks I will have to spin first!

I have lots of bits of superwash merino in different colours and am going to combine them to spin up some yarn for knitting. It means combining colours and is a surprise every time. I made this a couple days ago – it’s a mixture of three or four blue shades, 2 ply, approximately 260 metres. I’m thinking socks for the baby boy, or a little sweater, perhaps 🙂

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Another project I’m working my way through is combing through the leftovers from last years fleeces. I have about a pillowcase full of jacob wool and another partial case full of rambouillet. Some of it is ‘second combings’ since I HATE throwing out anything and there is a lot of saveable wool left over from combing in the first place.

Happy Spinning!

Do You See Socks?

I see socks.

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I’m planning to ply the darker tone with the brighter tone and I think they’ll be beautiful! Or at least the yarn will be, lol, since I can’t promise to actually KNIT socks in the near future.

I’m working on the skeins of reclaimed ‘unspun’ I dyed – I don’t know that I’ll finish them all though, probably I’ll store some of it for later too. This one was kettle dyed with yellow/orange/copper wiltons icing dye. I’m so happy it didn’t felt a bit – I can still draft the fibre even though this comes from the part of the sweater I had to frog!

The summer is HERE, all the kids are out of school and my second daughter has graduated high school. I was a very proud mama last night! She is heading to college in the fall and I’m so happy for her 🙂

A Little Shetland Lace Cardigan

Using my handspun!

Remember the shetland fleece I bought earlier this year?
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I washed it, combed it – seperated the down coat from the coarse outer coat, and spun the down into a nice, lofty two ply.

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I wanted a little sweater – it’s really soft and I’m not overly sensitive to wool anyways. The Sylph Cardigan by Robin Melanson (Interweave Knits) was perfect. Or at least close to perfect! I downsized it, one size. I also continued the lace pattern throughout and knitted on the neckband rather than sewing it on later. I reshaped the sleeves a bit when downsizing. I like them well fitted.

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I love how it turned out!

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Awesome!

Very cool day in wool-land!

I’ve started to knit with my charcoal shetland…

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It’s a ‘sylph’-ish cardigan…or at least that’s what I’m going for…

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I had to downsize it, one size, and am thinking about leaving the open pattern throughout rather than changing it to the closed version halfway, as the pattern is written. I think it shows off the shetland nicely AND the mods are necessary if I hope to have enough wool!

Since I’m new at this, I didn’t realize how much weight is lost in the cleaning and processing of the fleece. I have approximately equal amounts of the outer coat (silvery gray) and the inner coat (the chocolate brown/gray that I’m using for this sweater).

My rambouillet fleece arrived today! From Knit-Knackers in Ottawa, Ontario – purchased from ebay but also available directly from the store and sold by the pound, for anyone who is interested. 🙂 It’s so soft and fine, really really fine. 17 to 21 microns. I’m almost afraid of it, lol.

It’s soaking already, in a cold water soak.

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rambouillet

And – the 3rd fantastic part of today – I’ve found (or been found by, lol) a local lady who raises sheep and she’s going to drop off three fleeces on the weekend, for FREE. Yay for free things! Very cool and she says next spring I should get back in touch again. LOVE the idea of having local fleeces and saving money even IF they are more work! She’s shearing tomorrow and I’m excited. 🙂

Staying Inside Where It’s Pretty!

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As you can see, it’s not really pretty outside, here, today!! Raining and almost 10 celcius, everything is melting like mad. Guess that groundhog needs a new job…

So, I’m staying inside, working on a really awesome, ambitious project. It’s a blanket called ‘An African Adventure’ by Horst Schulz. It’s a modular knit and a lot of knitting. And it’s for ME. Really. I’m not even going to change my mind and give it to one of the children.

I’ve spun 16 different colours of superwash merino wool. The result is dk/worsted, thick/thin 2 play yarn…a little bit thicker than the original (which was dk) but I’m sure it’ll do nicely.

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From top left; Amethyst, Henna, Earth, Pink Frost, Fuchsia, Deep Red

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Sky, Lightest Lilac, Purple Mist, (skipping the colours already seen), Coral, Light Coral, Deepest Green

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Deep Sky, (skipping colours already seen), Olive Green, Grass, Light Olive

I can’t wait to start this!

The Sweater Is Finished :)

I’ve finished my ‘Ellie’ sweater using my Pink Frost Handspun superwash merino yarn and I LOVE it!

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It’s amazingly soft and comfy and machine washable, which can only add to the number of times that I wear it. 🙂 I think I should have lengthened the pattern a little bit but other than that, a great pattern.

My new obsession is a blanket – made entirely with handspun (yet to be spun). Crazy, maybe!

969 Yards!

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I think I have enough for my sweater. LOL, now if only I can fit it in, time wise! I found a really nice pattern already written which is exactly what I had in mind…and will work very well (I think) for this handspun yarn. It’s really thick and thin in spots so I’m planning to work with that!

A close up…

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Now, I’m back to cleaning…it’s SUPER CLEANING DAY here, lol, ’cause I have been too busy quilting and spinning and whatnot to get anything done these last few days. Doesn’t everyone include washing their newly spun wool with their cleaning day?!

I really need some cleaning elves…

Spinning Again!

Now that I’m finished the lovely knee socks, I felt like working on my spinning for a couple of days…it’s a nice break and I’ve been dying to get to it since I got all that beautiful (superwash merino) fibre at The Black Lamb for Christmas!

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I’m mixing these two colours (shell pink and a pink blend) by plying them together. I’m purposefully making the shell ply a little thinner than the blend – a little experiment.

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My finished product – the first skein – is approximately fingering to dk (by looks) and is about 14 wpi – probably 12 wpi in the thicker sections. I’m going to spin it all in a row to help ensure that the yarn is pretty much well matched. I know, I know….yes, I SHOULD just spin all the singles, wind them onto toilet paper rolls and then mix them to make the weights similar later.

Pfffffft…I don’t swatch either, ever. Don’t tell the knitting police!

I have a project in mind as I spin but it’s definitely a little into the future!! I’m thinking of designing an open knit sweater – done on larger than suitable needles – that is bottom up, as one piece as possible, with a simple seam finish and a v or some such neckline. It’ll be perfect for over a camisole. With this in mind, I chose the pinks because they are as delicate as the intended project.

I’m pretty excited about all of it 🙂

Freezing Cold Emergency

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So, last night we realized that we couldn’t find my son’s balaclava (or his dad’s) anywhere. He has skiing today and it’s FREEZING cold (-31 right now). The only possible solution at 9 pm? Knitting, of course.

Then I couldn’t find a pattern for a child size OR for a larger needle knit – which is what I needed considering it had to be done for this morning.

So I designed my own – using the word design loosely, lol!

I used two strands of worsted weight handspun (my silverlights) and large dpns, cast on 72 sts, worked 2×2 ribbing for 8 inches or so, seperated by casting off 18 sts and then casting them back on two rows later, worked another 2 inches of 2×2 ribbing and then decreased gradually over the following couple of inches to form the hat crown.

I’m SO IMPRESSED that it fits! LOL, the kiddo was in bed so I was just guessing and you do start to question your guessing skills once the clock strikes 2 am or so…

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Stay warm people…it’s COLD out there!

Winter’s On It’s Way…

The geese are flying, the leaves are beginning to turn and the nights are getting COLD!

Winter seems to be around the corner, here in Ontario. I’ve decided to concentrate on gifts and warm woolies now – with carpets and such as a bit of relief at the end of the day 🙂

I’ve completed a set for my son. It’s a matching scarf/hat set made with my Silverlights Handspun superwash merino (rovings purchased at The Black Lamb in Port Hope), using the ‘Rainy Day Scarf’ pattern for the scarf and a variation of that stitch in my hat pattern.

What do you think?

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Now I’m working on a Drop Stitch Scarf for my daughter, using the leftovers from a sweater project last year – the Amoroso Malabrigo worsted. I have about a ball and a half left over so I’m really keeping my fingers crossed. In my perfect world I’d have enough left to make the hat as well.

I’m quite nervous waiting for an appointment I have coming up with a surgeon. I’ve got some sort of cyst (yes-think cyst) problem going on and have already had an ultrasound. In about a week and a half I’ll have a better idea what the actual problem is.

Keeping myself busy is the best I can do.

I’ve Cast On For The Mitts…

Two beautiful cakes of handspun 🙂 I’m hoping this works out like I think it will. I made the darker colour in a thick/thin, on purpose, hoping that it will add interesting texture. The other has some thick spots, lol, which are just the nature of me spinning…I’m the farthest thing from technically correct that there is! I just spin 🙂

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I’ve finally cast on for the Winter Twilight Mitts! I am using my new harmony fixed circular in size 2.5 mm…I bought it for the Autumn Rose but never needed it…I’m using it as the fourth dpn since somehow? I only had three.

Today is ‘dentist day’ for me…a consultation to see what all needs done. Which BY FAR beats the toothache I had – so badly – recently. The dressing they applied has held and there hasn’t been any pain so I’m really hoping this means that they can fill this tooth rather than pull/rootcanal it. I don’t mind either proceedure really, and I’ve had both, but the COST of a root canal is outrageous and I’d rather we don’t have to afford that right now. I miss our dental benefits!

Knitting is so much less stressful!

Shadows — All Spun Up!

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I’m calling it ‘Shadows Handspun’.

This is the yarn I was spinning for the trees in the Winter Twilight Mitts pattern. I used blue and black superwash merino. The first ply in blue only, the second using both colours in my ‘fake hand paint’ method. I was so unsure as I spun it but I love it now! 🙂

I have 440 metres!

Ah, AND, LOL, I made a drastic mistake when I calculated the yardage on the Violet Rose — I left out a whole hundred wraps!

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(see the little ‘116’? I don’t know how but I counted that as ’16’)

So, it is really 645 metres, not 520.

The yarn is soaking at the moment…can’t wait to get it dried and ready to knit!

Perfect…

I’ve had a skein of two ply handspun sitting on the bobbin for a while. I was originally planning to use it to make a cabled sock yarn – it was a technique I hadn’t tried yet (and still haven’t, for that matter!).

However….

Now I’ve found the perfect pattern for it! It’s the Winter Twilight Mitts pattern by Laura Rintala, available as a free download on the Knitting Daily website.

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I wish you could see the shine…the yarn has a really nice sheen to it and it’s so soft!

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The yarn is superwash merino spun from mill ends bought at my favorite shop, The Black Lamb in Port Hope, Ontario. I spun the skein in my ‘fake hand paint’ way using various colours. There are 520 metres (yay me) on the skein, so more than enough.

I’m planning to spin some black superwash – maybe mix in some dark gray – for the main colour.

I’m excited 🙂 It’ll be good to get back to the wheel too! I polished her up this morning in anticipation of our upcoming time together…she’s so much prettier when she’s not all dusty.

3 Months Spinning…

I’ve been spinning for exactly three months today. On the wheel, that is…I spent about a month or so with a spindle, learning the basics of twist – getting addicted to spinning and whatnot!

I’m thinking I’d like to create a ‘spinning page’ where I can keep track, with pictures – in one place – of all of the yarns I’ve spun. It’ll help me see my progress as well as helping me remember what I”ve done!

I was an avid hand quilter for a long time when my kids were little. I made many, many quilts – so many I’ve lost track. My biggest mistake was not keeping a record of everything I did, with pictures. Now most of the quilts are gone and my memory, as it turns out, SUCKS LOL.

Here’s a picture of my Rose Garden Handspun, plied, on the bobbin — It turned out really lovely…or at least I love it!

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I made this yarn randomly – didn’t measure sections of roving for uniformity or place them in an even, organized pattern – but was thinking, before I made it, of the beautiful hand painted rovings out there. Thinking WHY CANT I DO THE SAME WITH COLOURED ROVINGS? So this was my attempt to mimic the effect of handpainted rovings with a much more affordable substitute! Guessing that this will weigh in at about 4 oz…the savings is significant — I paid about $1.25 for the rovings I used as opposed to the rates of $14+ that I’ve seen (and paid in the past) for a similar amount of roving. Now that is a BIG difference!

The picture is a little dark, I know…here’s one taken this morning outside…on the board…

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I ended up with about 400 yards of light to heavy fingering weight yarn…depending on the section…I always have thick/thin sections 🙂

Today it’ll have a little bath and then be dried and weighed later on…

I Can’t Believe It!

I have MISPLACED (I refuse to use the word LOST) so many of my magazines and books and I’ve got no idea how or where or anything!

It all became apparent yesterday when I was looking for a magazine (IK I think?) that had a beautiful sock ‘recipe’ for all sizes, guages, etc…for toe up socks…that I often use when trying to design a new sock pattern…

Thank goodness that I’ve written it out in the past when I wrote the other sock patterns…I didn’t write out the guage charts (sure wish I had!) but at least I could recover the basics of the short row heel that I like to use.

Then my daughter asked for a book, for school, that I haven’t seen in quite a while and had almost forgotten about…leading me to consider all the other books that are missing. If there is any hope of finding them they may be in the basement in one of the unpacked boxes. LOL, at this point I’m wondering how we decided to put thoses boxes down there in the first place or if we were just tired the night we were moving in! Looking through all of them is NOT something I’m looking forward to but I really like knowing where my things are!

I managed to figure out my sock pattern anyways…it’s the Candy Stripe Socks pattern listed in the pages. They use, of course, the Candy Stripe Yarn that I spun from the superwash merino from the black lamb. I’m almost done the first sock…

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I thought the twists in this pattern were reminiscent of the twists of candy cane sticks 🙂

I’ve also taken a picture of the spinning I’m working on…the first ply for the four ply….

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Enjoy your day 🙂

Making Do :)

So…

I’m trying to spin a three ply with only three bobbins and wanted to come up with a way to make it work without having to wind any of the singles into a ball before plying. Patience isn’t my strong suit, lol, so I didn’t want to wait for a chance to buy a fourth bobbin.

Ta Da….

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I spun it on the first three hooks and built a little separator out of a scrap of cardboard — and duckie stickers of course! 🙂

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I’ve done half a bobbin of the dark orange on it’s own bobbin (I was still thinking about the problem, lol)

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So far, so good! I’m pretty happy with this idea…I’ll let you know how the plying goes 🙂

Beautiful Sun!

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The sun is shining and the rain is gone…for now 🙂 I love a sunny day…it revives me.

I’m going to do a ton of laundry, I love hanging it out to dry. It began because I don’t have my dryer yet – still in ‘storage’ – I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever see it again! – but I really like it. I know I’m not wasting power and I like the way the laundry feels and smells 🙂 Even the jeans and towels!

Baked some beautiful muffins yesterday…raspberry lemon…

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They are fantastic…the recipe was originally for a cranberry muffin but I had frozen raspberries and I thought the lemon and raspberry would go well together, which they DID! The icing is just a glaze of icing sugar and lemon juice.

I’m almost done spinning the yarn for my son…I am so pleased too! I am sure I’ll get at least another 350 metres out of this last bit, maybe even 400 🙂 That should give me enough to make him a nice cabled sweater…

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I’m hoping to finish spinning it while the kids are at school today. I’d like to clean up our deck and get outside for a while. It’s definitely a spin-friendly deck – covered concrete front porch that spans the front of the house, actually. An excellent place to shelter the baby plants now that I’ve moved them outside. I forgot about them last night!!! Thank goodness there wasn’t frost here like they said might happen.

My husband is broken…well, slightly damaged – we’re going with that – he tore his main muscle in his right arm (is a construction foreman in the concrete business) and now can hardly move his arm at all. He’s gotten a sling to wear and spent yesterday sleeping because he got so little rest the night before. They say he needs to keep from using the arm for about a week…he’s going to have to actually supervise instead of jumping in and doing the work for a while.

The dogs spent yesterday comforting him 🙂 They like to keep him company…

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Have an excellent day!

Silver Lights…

I’m up to 699 metres of yarn in my recent spinning project!! Yay and thank goodness, lol.

I think I’m going to call it ‘silver lights’. I have a really hard time naming yarn but it’s the ‘done’ thing. As I spun it, (and am still spinning it), the grey comes through as a shiny silver peeking through the black…or that’s what I kept thinking, hence the name…

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I don’t know if you can see in the picture but the second ‘set’ (on the winder) is a lighter colour…more of the silver is coming through. LOL…it’s not as easy as it looks to make a consistant yarn. I’m thinking I’m going to need to incorporate some subtle striping to make the colours look intentional!

I need about another 300 metres — really hoping the rovings go that far. From now on, I’m going to buy the rovings in two pound lots so in future I don’t have to fret over having enough for a project 🙂

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Spinning To Order…

Yes, I’m working on the yarn for my son…the black and grey superwash.

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A light worsted/dk weight is my goal though I’m never sure what I’m getting exactly with the hand spinning. I don’t know if you get to the point where you know for sure that the singles are ‘perfect’ in size or if it’s always a bit of a guessing game. I kind of go for a sock weight single so the two will end up as a worsted when plied. And then there’s the thick/thin factor. I don’t know if other spinners get past this but there are definitely ALWAYS thick/thin places in my singles. Not a lot of them, but they’re there.

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I’m also working on a knitted top for myself. Yosemite worked in Shire Silk that I’ve been saving since I bought it last year. It has GOT to be the most expensive yarn I’ve ever ordered. Not because the yarn wasn’t on sale but because of the method of shipping to Canada from Webs. I’ve learned different sellers ship different ways and there are some that I will buy from now and some I will not. I do my best to stay away from the USPS! Unless I love having a whole lot of ‘surprise’ charges to pay COD at the post office on pick up, LOL, it seems the way to go. So this is the one and only thing I will ever/have ever bought at Webs, did I mention EVER? On the other hand, I had previously bough some beautiful yarn, including some Shire Silk, at fabulousyarn.com and they shipped the civilised way and there were NO surprises at the post office on that order. With the discounts, the yarn prices were quite similar anyways. Live and learn!

My goal this year is to knit the stash. I will excuse myself this rule when it comes to buying rovings, of course! 🙂 Must. Feed. The. Spinning. Habit. Other than handspun though, I hope to use the yarn I’ve been hoarding — there is a LOT of it too, LOL.

Since I’m a SAHM, I like to find ways to contribute – read ‘save money’ – so I’m planting a patio garden this year. I have beans, three kinds of peas (two with edible pods, one without), three different kinds of tomato plants (heirloom, cherry and normal), red, green and heirloom peppers, green onions. Right now the babies are growing in little pots on all my window sills and eventually they will be repotted for the decks. We have gardens around the house as well but I’m not too interested in feeding the local bunny population. Bunnies are adorable and all but this is OUR food! 🙂 I’m planting at least six of each plant and I really hope I get enough food to help out and make a difference.

I’ve also been baking our bread every day and it makes a difference I’m sure. Bread here now is about three dollars a loaf for the CRAP. Very expensive! I make two loaves at a time, sometimes every day, sometimes every other. It only takes me about half an hour to make, save rising time. The kids love it and when I bake, they eat far better, way more. A store bought loaf of CRAP lasts us about three days…two home made loaves last us a day or a a day and a half. I like it when they enjoy the food!!! Makes me feel like a million when I know I’m contributing to that.

I’ve started getting really creative with our leftovers and with recipes in general. I’m getting better at going by the rough outline of a recipe and using all the things we like instead of the things they call for that I don’t have! The kids are even enjoying the results!

The Handspun Ribby Shrug…

is all done!

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It turned out nicely, I think, though it’s much bigger than I expected from looking at the way it fit on the model in the magazine. Now, of course – LOL – I’m not a gauge-checker generally and didn’t check to see what the finished measurements were compared to the specs in the pattern. My original gauge was a little off, I do know. I think the yarn was just a tad too thick to match the pattern’s yarn and that’s where the difference came in.

I guess beginner-spinner-luck can only last so long! 🙂

So…though I love it, I know it’s a little different than it was meant to be 🙂

It’s quite impossible, really, to NOT love this blend…the seacell/silk is awesome on the skin and it makes me crave enough to make a real sweater. Definitely something I’m going to think about next time I’m fiber shopping!

Look how nice it is up close…

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Working On The Ribby Shrug!

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It’s pouring rain today…and snowing in some places!! Not here though, I’m happy to say 🙂

I worked on the Ribby Shrug yesterday and I’m almost halfway done. I don’t think I’m going to have enough yarn to make the matching tank but I’m thinking a tank in another of the colours I have…it’ll be superwash merino instead of the seacell/silk if I do it that way. I think either the wine red shade or the mossy green would work with the natural beige. It’s a bummer but I’ll make it work.

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So today it’s taxes (yeah, fun) and knitting. Cleaning too if I get energetic, lol. Thankfully my taxes are very basic and I’ve already done a rough copy, months ago. If I had been smart I would have just finished them up then. Fortunately I don’t owe money this year (unless we count the back owed from last year) so the deadline isn’t cast in stone for me – BUT I plan to have them mailed by tomorrow evening, at the latest.

Another Yarn :)

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I’ve finished the first skein of two ply seacell/silk from the rovings I purchased at the black lamb!! I have 242.5 metres of a roughly dk weight thick/thin yarn. I love it! It’s a nice light natural beige and I am SO hoping I have enough to make myself the tank/shrug I want. We shall soon see!

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Grow Babies, Grow

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My baby plants are growing really well! 🙂 I can’t wait for summer….

I’ve finished Ice Queen and I LOVE it! I used an assortment of beads — didn’t have enough of any one colour and I reclaimed them from kids bracelets so I couldn’t change plans and buy more of the same.

Check it out!

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I used 1.23 oz for this and have .49 oz left for another day!

Though I CAN wait for winter…had enough already!…I’m looking forward to wearing this when the weather turns cold again 🙂 I think the colours suit the pattern and the yarn worked out so well I have a yearning to spin some more lace…wouldn’t it be beautiful in a sweater!