Monday, October 20, 2014

All The News That's Fit to Blog

While we all wait anxiously for the results of this year's Spinzilla (which should be announced later today with any luck!), I have a few random news items to share this week:

I was thrilled to discover - nearly a week after the fact - that one of my designs was featured in Threadpanda's Friday Finds! What's funny is that the Friday Finds feature is one of my favorites to check on a regular basis, but the one time it slips my mind - BOOM! There's my patterns! At any rate, I couldn't be more flattered to be included in such a lovely collection of patterns. Be sure to follow the Threadpanda blog for more great inspiration and enabling, it's definitely worth adding to your reading list.
Sample grab bag from my Etsy shop
In the world of podcasts, my Mini Skein Grab Bags were recently mentioned on 2 Tangled Skeins, and they said such nice things about them that I couldn't resist creating a special coupon code for their viewers to use in my Etsy shop! Click here to watch the podcast (the review is around the halfway mark) and click here to view the coupon code in the 2 Tangled Skeins Ravelry group!

My fellow Chicagoans are getting ready for the return of Vogue Knitting Live next weekend, which I won't be attending this year. I'm looking forward to hearing a full report from those of you who are lucky enough to go, however! If you haven't purchased your Marketplace ticket yet, be sure to use coupon code GUILD50 for half-off your admission. Click here to purchase ahead of time online!

Click here to view all 5 patterns on Ravelry. 
Last but not least, there is still time to snag the Conversation Socks ebook for just $12 (regularly priced at $14) when you enter "KPSOCKTOBER" at checkout! The concept is simple: 5 unisex designs which knit up quickly in sport-weight yarn. The stitch patterns are interesting to knit, but not so complicated that they make you cry (I promise) They're great for travel projects, knit night, and that 11th hour gift you nearly forgot to knit. There is also a KAL happening now through October 31, and some awesome prizes are up for grabs - click here for more details!

I'll meet you back here for WIP Wednesday!

Friday, October 17, 2014

FO Friday: Chase Those Chills

With a few weeks left before the official KAL end date, my Chill Chaser is complete! Over the weekend, I wove in the ends; on Monday night, I sewed the sleeves onto the body. On Tuesday, I blocked it out, but it wasn't totally dry until yesterday. Last night, I sewed on the buttons...which means I wasn't able to get photos taken of the totally-finished sweater til this morning, which is why this post is a little later than usual.
As you can see, it fits me perfectly. I used the same colors of Spud & ChloĆ« Sweater as pictured in the pattern photo, Manatee & Turtle. I'm knitting it as part of the Chill Chaser KAL which is happening here on Ravelry - and if you'd like to participate by knitting a child-size version of the sweater, it's not too late to join in, since the KAL ends on October 31. 
Check out those awesome robot buttons - do they look familiar? I used them earlier this year on a friend's baby sweater, and I've been obsessed with them ever since. I was able to special-order the size I needed from Fastenation Studio since I needed something smaller than what was currently available on the website. They arrived in less than a week, and there were even two extra robot buttons included with my order! 
I am totally in love with this project - I think it might be one of my favorite and best-fitting sweaters to date. I look forward to keeping the chills at bay all winter long! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Socks & Single-Points

Now that Spinzilla is officially over and I have double-checked my yardage calculations to include the leftover singles from my plied yarns for a total of 3404 yards, I am returning to the projects which have been forlorn in my knitting corner for the past week.

Over the weekend, I finished the Chill Chaser sweater I had on the needles (spoiler alert for Friday!) and made some serious progress on my Chittery Chattery socks for various KALs which I'm participating in (more on those here).

I have only knit a few more rounds of my Wedge socks since last week's WIP Wednesday post, so it's probably not worth posting a photograph today. However, I did start something NEW as a reward for finishing a project over the weekend. For quite some time, I've been wanting to cast on for  Excelsior from the Holla Knits Home Collection, and the Sweatshop of Love Fall KAL which started at the beginning of this month is the perfect excuse! I'm using 3 colors of Spud & Chloe Fine from my stash: Orangutan, Goldfish and Ice Cream, and some Bamboo single-point needles from Knitter's Pride. Admittedly, straight needles are not normally my jam, but I am kind of enjoying the departure from the norm for this project. It doesn't look like much just yet, but I'm hoping it knits up quick: 

Also on my to-do list this week is to make sure that all of my new handspun skeins of yarn are properly entered into my Ravelry stash! 

How are you keeping it crafty this week? 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Spinzilla: Handspun Eye Candy

The results won't be in for the team totals til later this week at the earliest, but last night I finished up my final Spinzilla project and tallied up my finished yardage for a grand total of 3372 (unofficially; I will probably be checking my math before submitting my final tally!).

During the course of the week, I spun approximately 3 pounds of fiber total, most of which I plied, though some of I decided to leave as a single ply. The cats were not terribly thrilled that I was spinning so much this past week; when I knit, they often snuggle up to me on the couch, but it's a bit tougher to snuggle whilst I spin - not that they didn't try!

Spinning with cats: is there any other way?
I began the week with some easy projects to get back into spinning: pencil roving (Louet Northern Lights), Louet Cheviot, and a Corriedale Cross braid from YarnHollow were among the first projects I embarked upon.

The Malabrigo Nube roving took longer than I was anticipating because working with the finer fibers (which for some reason I decided to spin into a laceweight single) was pretty hard on my hands. I know some Spinzilla spinners are hard-core and are willing to push themselves past the point of pain, but I am not one of them. The Nube necessitated frequent breaks, shorter sessions, and a slower pace overall.

Once the Nube was plied, I began to get a little panicked about my running total, so I rushed through a couple of braids and unintentially spun them in opposite directions in the process, creating an opposing ply yarn once I paired them together. The result is a really energetic and interesting textured skein of yarn which used up all of the BFL single, but left a significant portion of the Organic Polwarth/Silk single from Cloudlover.

On Saturday night, I decided to try my hand at spinning 2 gradient braids from Fairy Yarnmother directly from the top, which turned out to work quite well at preserving the color changes, both in spinning the singles as well as when I plied them together. Also, I had less than 2 yards left from one of the bobbins when it was all said and done - usually I have one bobbin with several yards leftover, even when I split the fiber by weight ahead of time, so this was rather satisfying for me.

Yesterday, I plied the Fairy Yarnmother yarn, then spun through the final batts in my fiber stash, splitting them into two singles which I also plied together that same day (which is not my usual MO, but I made an exception for Spinzilla).

Here are all of my finished skeins - they fit into one of my Thirty-One storage bins:

Even if I don't end up winning any prizes, I am pretty happy with everything I accomplished during this year's event. Unbelievably, I still have some fiber left in my stash (three pounds to be exact), and everyone on #TeamLouet received a generous thank-you gift from Dave at Louet which I am excited to spin up in the near future:

Pippi Project Kit & Limited-Edition Spinzilla LaviShea Bar
This fall, I plan to explore some new spinning territory which I was reticent to attempt while competing in Spinzilla; for example, this week I realized that I have never set up my Ladybug to spin double drive, so that is something I definitely want to try out. I also want to spin some fingering-weight yarn; the lightest weight I've been able to accomplish thus far has been a sport.

In the mean time, I'm eager to see everyone else's results from this past week, and to find out how my team placed, too! It won't be long til we find out which team has won the Golden Niddy Noddy for 2014!

Friday, October 10, 2014

FO Friday: Small Things Are No Sweat

I finished my first (of many) October KAL projects this week! This first one is for the Hops & Hanks Fall KAL, and it's knit with a new exclusive base of yarn available at A Good Yarn Sarasota called A Good Yarn Fingering. You can choose from a 50g skein for $15 or a full 4oz skein for $32. I used a 50g skein in the Autumn Jewels colorway, and I have enough left over to knit another pair of socks or perhaps even a matching hat!
Knit with A Good Yarn Fingering in Autumn Jewels
Speaking of which....this pattern is from my back catalog, the Sweetest Baby Socks. When I originally designed these socks, I used one of my favorite superwash yarns for gifted items, Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock.

Knit with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Sunshine
While I would still very much recommend this yarn, the put-up has changed for Shepherd Sock, which makes purchasing a skein of it specifically for this project a tad impractical (however, if you have a leftover skein lying around, go ahead and cast on!!). At any rate, I have updated this pattern to include both yarn options, and I have also added a chart and revised some of the instructions for clarity and ease of knitting.

Anyone who has purchased this pattern before I release the matching hat pattern I'm working on for later this year will receive a coupon code to purchase the forthcoming Sweetest Baby Hat for only $2!

In other news, I also finished the one-skein cowl I started during my trip to Minnesota last week! The pattern is the Cupid Cowl by Bobbi IntVeld, and I used one skein of Spud & Chloe Sweater in one of their new colorways, #7532 Pine Needle. It turned out to be the perfect travel project because the pattern stitches were so easy to read that I didn't have to constantly refer back to the written instructions as I knit. Also, it was interesting enough to keep me entertained during some pretty long delays, but not so complicated as to bend my mind into a pretzel!

As you might have guessed, I also have several finished skeins of handspun yarn at this point, but I will be saving them for my post-Spinzilla blog post this coming Monday. I hope everyone has a fun and fibery weekend!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Progress Aplenty + Craftsy Kits

Since I was traveling last week, I strategically packed only two projects to work on in hopes that I would come home with as many FOs. Despite encountering a lot of delays in my air travel, my plan didn't quite work out as I thought it would, although the Wedge Socks are now at HO status!

The lighting in the photo above doesn't really do justice to the colorway, so here is a close-up shot which is a little more true to color:

My Chill Chaser is much closer to being done; I finished knitting the sleeves and just need to attach them to the sweater - but first, I want to finish knitting the hood:

Last but not least, my Chittery Chattery socks are knitting up nice and quick, especially considering the fact that I've had very little time to work on them!

In other news, Craftsy is offering some great deals on project kits which are only available by clicking on my affiliate links below. I thought I'd share them for anyone who is looking for simple & affordable gifts to make this holiday season now that there are less than three months to go!

Prices are only good through October 10, so don't delay - a few of the other affiliate-sale kits have already sold out!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Time to Spin!

Spinzilla starts today! I spent all of this past weekend making sure my fiber was prepped, though I'm not doing anything terribly fancy for this year's event: most of the fibers I am spinning with are hand-dyed roving, so I've just predrafted them into thinner strips to spin directly from the top. Since the focus is on speed and yardage, I had earmarked a few easy-to-spin projects for this week especially.

First, the final set of batts from earlier this year:

Next on my to-do list, some Louet Northern Lights in Icy Winter, which I'll spin as-is since it's already pencil roving:

My latest fiber acquisition is two braids of Malabrigo Nube which I purchased when I was in Minneapolis last week:

I was just in town for a few days on official Stitchcraft business, but managed to stop by Crafty Planet for a little fiber stash enhancement. They have a really amazing selection of fabrics, sewing and embroidery supplies in addition to yarn, of course. It's always fun to visit a LYS or two when traveling to pick up a fibery souvenir. Bonus: they also have a well-stocked online shop!

Good luck to everyone spinning during this week's event. I'll be sharing some of my non-spinning WIPs this Wednesday, see you then!