Squeezing in fiber

I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot, but there has been a real gap in my fiber time lately.  I haven’t touched the sewing machine in nearly a month, or the spinning wheel, and the knitting has been pretty sparse as well.

The time just seems to be racing by and there are too many tasks.  We’re making a big change in our lives – really, our location – and it is exciting but also a major time suck.

We bought a new house!

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We are moving back to Washington state.  Just a 30 minute shift north, but it will make a big difference in our commutes and put me a lot closer to my mom and sister.  So, very much looking forward to it, but also overwhelmed by all that needs to be done.

First a lot of spare time was taken up with house hunting, particularly weekends which were prime crafting time before.  Then all the mortgage paperwork gathering ate up most of our evenings.  And now we are getting the current house ready for renters while getting the new one ready to move in.  Walls are getting painted, fuse boxes replaced, decks fixed up.  We’ve had a tile floor redone, and popcorn is getting scraped from ceilings.  During all of this, some unexpected problems have erupted.  Plumbers have been here at the current house often enough that we’ve got a frequent flyer discount on Tuesday’s visit.

But it is coming together slowly and we plan to move at the end of June when the boys and I are done with our school years.

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The new living room, without the grungy graying popcorn ceilings. So much better!

This all means, on the crafting side of things, that after weeks of blog silence the only thing I’ve finished is a brioche stitch cowl.  I’m just relieved I have one accomplishment I can point to!

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The cowl is long wide enough to wrap around twice.  I paired two commercial yarns, one a multicolor sock yarn and one a single ply that I kettle dyed blue.  The edging is a simple stockinette roll, and the whole pattern was easy peasy.  Increasing the number of stitches cast on was the only real change I made to the pattern.

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My first brioche stitch project but definitely not the last.  I really like how the two sides have different dominate colors, and it is a very squishy, stretchy result.  The actual brioche stitch turns out to be just as easy as slip stitch, another of my favorite stitches, so this one is definitely going to happen again.

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In the meantime, with everything else going on, I needed another very simple project to putter with in odd moments, so I’m finally making my brother the hooded scarf he asked for, using baby alpaca yarn that a friend brought me back after a trip to Peru.  Absolutely yummy soft.  And while it is rather odd to be making such a warm project as we head into summer, it will be perfect for a bitter East Coast winter next year.

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Adding to the yarn stash

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve made some progress in moving fiber from the spinning piles to the yarn stash.

First is the Polwarth/silk yarn I finished at the early March finishing weekend, off the bobbin, wet finished, dried and in its final skein.

From this:

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To this:

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Over the last week I also plied and finished this humbug BFL fiber that I dyed back in January.

These:

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Became these:

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This makes 1.6 lbs. spun this year.  My goal is 6 lbs. so I need to pick up the pace a little bit, but my goal is definitely doable.

In knitting news, I’ve also started to work on a new cowl, practicing the two color brioche stitch that my friend taught us.  I started with a scarf, but didn’t like the way the edges were going, and I prefer cowls and shawls to straight scarves anyway, so I ripped it back and cast on for a cowl instead.

It is fairly simple now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, so this will be good mindless TV knitting.

 

We interrupt the silence to bring you a smidgeon of crafting news

Life has gotten a bit crazy lately.  We’ve spent a lot of our non-working/sleeping time house hunting, and now we are in the throes of house buying, with all the paper gathering and emails and phone calls that entails.  In the meantime, the kids still needed to eat and have clean clothes and get to track and Cub scouts and who knows what.  Some balls have been dropped, and getting anything crafty done has been one of those balls.

But I did abandon my responsibilities last weekend for another trip to join my fibery friends.  We rented a place through AirBnB and raced off through the rain storms to catch the ferry to Anderson Island for the weekend.

 

There was a lot of spinning on my part.  I finished the blue two ply yarn in the pic below, and filled another bobbin with the third single I needed to make another yarn.  I also worked on the I-cord edging on my Volt wrap.

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There was also a lot of learning.  Paige taught us all how to do two color brioche knitting, and Leslie 2 was quick enough at it to knit a shoulder wrap/cowl thing.

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We also learned it takes a great deal of junk food (and pineapple cider) to fuel so much creative effort.

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It was hard to leave and go back to the real world.  But we had a satisfying pile of progress to show for it.

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A small finish

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Despite the surprise extra days of leisure due to weather, there hasn’t been a lot of sewing lately – I’ve been on a knitting and spinning kick – but I do have one small sewing project I can check off the WIP list.

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These four placemats have joined their kin in a kitchen drawer, replacing some woven ones that were irretrievably stained.  A fun, quick project that used up a bunch of scrap strips and batting pieces.  I stitched each strip to the batting as I went along, so minimal topstitching was needed to keep the backing in place.  Of course, the tops lingered on the work table for a month before I actually got those backs sewn on . . .

Meanwhile, I’m still dunking fiber into dye pots.

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And I’m completely obsessed with how the colors of handspun are coming together in my cardigan knitting project.

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And then there is watching the snow fall – 8″ since it started last night.  A tremendous amount for where we live in Oregon!

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Cocooning

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Another stuck at home day, worsened by a very slight temp increase that has turned the powdery snow from yesterday to slush and icy rain. Tonight it is all supposed to freeze over again and kill anyone who dares roll wheels out of their driveway,

A lazy day for me is a new handspun cardigan knitting project started, plus tea and popcorn.

A lazy day for the boys is electronics, sword fights, HGTV and Wii.

I’m not actually sure what my husband’s been up to. He holed up in the office doing accounting type things for work. He did come out at one point to play Pokémon Monopoly with Son #2.

My cardigan is mostly the pattern Less is More, from Knitty.  I’ve made a few mods – worsted yarn instead of DK, I dropped the extra rows for the rolled neckline because I’m planning I-cord, and I abandoned the stripe pattern because I have about eight skeins I plan to pull yarn from rather than the pattern’s four.  But the basics and the shape remain the same.

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I’ve changed the yarn line up since taking this photo, taking out the red and adding in a medium purple.

img_7644Lots of winding yarn into cakes.  I’m a bit dubious about my gauge,  but I’m really liking the colors together.  Wrangling all those yarn cakes and balls takes some effort.  I’m carrying the extra yarn up the sides, occasionally breaking yarn when the distance gets too wide.  The plan is to hide all the ends and carries in the I-cord edging.  Fingers are crossed that works.

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A mountain of yarn

Happy New Year, everyone!

I felt a rare organization urge this morning and decided to tackle the yarn stash.

I dragged yarn bundles, baskets and bins from all corners and with the help of my boys piled it in the living room.

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This is the before picture.

I sorted by type and weight, created a bin for lace weight, one for fingering, a big bag for bulky, and so on. One big bin is now filled with remnants to go in the slip stitch afghans I make, and another is for thinner yarn remnants for similar scarves or weaving.  Sweater lots were put together, and all the full skeins of handspun went into a zipper bag.

I did try to cull.  There is a fair amount headed for Goodwill:

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One woven basket of yarn showed some signs of moths, so I threw out a lot there and put some in the freezer.  And no more woven baskets for storage.  I was also able to get rid of the big white plastic bins from the before photo, which frees up some floor space in the little craft room.

Here is the after picture:

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Still a ridiculous amount of yarn, and there may be more pruning, but it is more organized and took up less space when I put it all back.

I also pulled out all the yarn I spun in 2016 for its own photoshoot.

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In 2016 I spun 6 lbs of fiber into these skeins.  That leaves 26 lbs. more to be spun.  My 2017 goal is to get at least another 6 lbs. spun and to get and keep the fiber stash below 20 lbs.

The fiber is next up to be pulled out and sorted, but not today.