Trends in yarn shopping

Oh dear. I’ve done it again. I’m not sure if it’s a weekend “time to party” sentiment, boredom, or escapism, but I always seem to tumble into impulsive yarn shopping on Fridays (Saturdays are right up there as well). Today’s impulse buy came from a deeply stored tidbit I read somewhere on a knitting blog in the last few weeks – someone out in the blogosphere mentioned purchasing samples from Madelinetosh directly from their website. There I was, digesting some course information, when the inspiration to look hit. It’s funny, I was just this morning listening to a message from Jen Wilkin’s “Abide, 1,2,3 John” study where she is teaching about “the desires of the eyes” and she brought up the age-old “It won’t hurt just to look.” It always hurts to look! Anyway, I’ve got two sample skeins coming: a bfl sock base (new) in an old color, “jade,” and a twist light (75% sw merino, 25% nylon) in “Found Pottery,” a sweet speckled colorway inspired by a piece of pottery someone presumably found. The shipping was flat rate, so it was pretty high, and it made two skeins more affordable than one. I guess I should be glad I didn’t go with the three skein sweater quantity I was originally pondering!

In knitting and spinning, I’ve been revisiting long-ignored wips this week, and I finished a monkey sock in Dream in Color Smooshy, “Beach Fog.” I’d been working on my Dad’s super secret Christmas knitting when the urge to find my Addi Turbos struck. I organized all of my knitting needles without locating the coveted set…before realizing they were in fact tied up with the dormant monkey sock. I quickly put in more than half of the knitting on that sock, finished yesterday, and got the second cast on. I might have gotten a little farther on that, but I received a tiny message that another long-ignored project (try dormant for over a year and on the needles for over two years) might need to be finished soon. Don’t worry, dear reader. It’s a team project, and we’re both done with the bulk of the knitting. It’s the finishing that is going to be logistically and practically challenging!

All I needed to do was want my needles back, and this sock flew.

All I needed to do was want my needles back, and this sock flew.

My grandmother’s hat is finished. Well, unless I add a liner. The result of my colorwork is pretty, but I guess a way to improve the blocking is to try beating the damp wool with a flat ruler or paint stir stick. I may try that, because the beige is still raised. The pattern turned out pretty big, which is what I wanted for curler coverage, but I’m not so sure I’d add the extra length for a normal knit. I kind of want to try it again with a different wool (read: rustic), but then again, I’m awfully sick of that chart.

This photo serves as a reminder that I take rotten photos, often. Selbu Modern, curler cover edition, blocking on an old towel.

This photo serves as a reminder that I take rotten photos, often. Selbu Modern, curler cover edition, blocking on an old towel.

I have another big finish to report. Parrotfish socks are done, yay! They went pretty quick, and they’re pretty fabulous. I just love Sunshine Yarn! I need to keep cranking out socks to boost the gift pile, but sweaters, baby projects, and shawl longings have got me too busy!

A pair-o-parrotfish socks were completed on Sunday. Pattern is Wendelin by Rosemary Waits.

A pair-o-parrotfish socks were completed on Sunday. Pattern is Wendelin by Rosemary Waits.

Finally, after what seems like months (probably close to it, anyway), I finished the first 2 oz of Yarn Love singles. Dang, these are thin. I’d better get some sweet yardage for this effort! I started the second 2 oz, and I think it’s going slower. I tend to get thinner on the back half of the braid, so it’s no surprise. Due to the color blending I’m seeing and the crazy thin spin, I’m going to n-ply. I was hoping for a just-right 2-ply, but I just haven’t been able to produce one. Too thin, too thick, all usable, but not that 400 yard skein of “yes!” I long for. Here’s a photo I took somewhere near the end of the first bobbin.

Here's Charm again. Let's hope I'm spinning consistently!

Here’s Charm again. Let’s hope I’m spinning consistently!

So I’m thinking nobody is coming to my spare office hours. They’d better ace Monday’s test. That’s alls I’m saying! Knit the good yarn!

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Make it quick

I’m at work on a Saturday, which means I ought to be working and not blogging, but I suppose this is less expensive than trolling etsy or ravelry for more stash/patterns to collect. I’ll make it quick (in hopes that work is uber productive and I am able to knit faster as a result!).

Big week of purchasing for me. Er, at least it feels that way. My Voolenvine yarn came in the mail on Wednesday (though it was expected Monday, from the tracking, I think it bounced back and forth between local post offices a few times…that was 3 days of hurriedly walking home before I was finally rewarded with a cutie pie package of yarn and goodies). I love Kristin’s stock colorways, and thanks to my friend, I’ve seen five of them up close and personal – she really does a good job. This skein, a OOAK, turned out a lot lighter than the photo, which was a teensy bit of a bummer. I can’t complain though, it’s still lovely and soft and wonderful. Lesson learned about internet photos and real life expectations!

Berrycuda OOAK / Mernio + Nylon + Cashmere / Lush Fingering

OOAK Berrycuda from Voolenvine. This is what I expected to find. See the depth? (Voolenvine’s photo)

Voolenvine in real life: Berrycuda

Voolenvine in real life: Berrycuda

After all that hemming and hawing, I bought a braid of SpunRightRound Mutant Flamingo on Rambouillet. I cannot wait for that. The photo is so fluffy (I’m gonna die, as the saying goes), I can only imagine it’s a million times better in real life. I have been spinning some on the Yarn Love. I’m afraid I got thinner between ounce #1 and ounce #2, because the second ounce is taking FOREVER. As thin as it is now, I believe I will have to chain-ply it. I hope it’s still pretty that way – I don’t know what I was thinking, besides “you have to get more than 340 yards,” which was my last 2-ply. It will be socks. Maybe odd looking, but socks nonetheless.

I also have a custom order coming. I want to keep the details quiet for now, but I will definitely report back on the knitting when it comes. Yay!

This week turned downright cold, so I busted out the Camilla mitts. I guess those are for me now! I ought to make some more mitts for stock gifts. They’re fun and easy to produce, and pretty impressive to look at, if I may say so. I also cast on my Hiro sweater. I have a few inches of the first sleeve done. As I was warned, colorwork is a little trickier to tension on worsted weight yarn! Here’s what I have so far. Color dominance becomes more important, and I should have actually switched hands sooner than when I did. Learning experiences! Speaking of sweaters, I’ve been wearing my Tea Leaves. I may not be fully satisfied with the fit, but man, it is so nice to wear a wool cardigan. Makes me wish I could improve my back and forth stockinette enough to justify knitting another. There’s always steeking, which would be another adventure!!

Hiro! Can you see it?

Hiro! Can you see it?

Finally, and I really should be going soon, I’ve been working on my Grandma’s hat. This photo is quite lame, but it shows my progress. After I hit row 20, I went back to row 1 of the colorwork, and I’m now finished with 13 of the 20 first rows. I’m on the fence as to whether I should have done this, but I will go forward as planned because my grandmother’s curlers are going to need plenty of room! If she doesn’t like the fit, I’m sure there’s some potted plant lacking a cover. I hope it doesn’t come down to that. With my big head, it might fit me as a beanie if it doesn’t fit her. Hey, I’m liking the way this sounds! 😉 I should mention that you can’t tell from the photo, but my tension is definitely improving as I go. I had read that you should space out the stitches on the right needle before carrying your float across the back in order to get the right length of yarn there. That helps a lot. It’s a little tricky to get the right tension on the floated stitch so that it doesn’t bulge with extra yarn, but it works out a lot better if you space the stitches. I’m happier overall with my colorwork, and I have resolved to continue practicing to get even better.

Shibu Modern grows!

Shibu Modern grows!

Alright. That’s enough yarny rambling for now. Knit the good yarn if you can today – I sure wish I were!

Some spinning, some finishing, some enabling

Already September? My, my. I think I had started a post before Labor Day but got distracted (or likely had no photos to share). I’m borrowing a little time to decompress from my first teaching gig. Had I picked a different grad program, today’s lesson would have been standard fare for the three TAs I had, but alas, TAs are nothing but graders here. Grad students elect to teach, and after avoiding it for years, I decided “why not?”

Since last post, I finished my opal socks. They’re not pictured because I didn’t think to snap a photo. I was just happy to be done! I cast on a new sock the next day, using my Leading Men Fiber Arts Show Stopper in colorway “Metamorphosis.” This is my third (of 4) Knitting Pipeline Retreat procurement. I’d say I’m doing pretty well! I cast on a 4×4 garter rib for a board game gathering. I’m clearly not a very enthusiastic game player, because the host even offered me the option to knit rather than play. I accepted.

Some purple and green knitting. Will it cure the "buy all the purple yarn" bug?

Some purple and green knitting. Will it cure the “buy all the purple yarn” bug?

I also had the chance to spin a bit before a whirlwind trip to Iowa. Here’s the first ounce of that Yarn Love braid I fell down and bought a couple of months ago. It is unbelievable! You can’t tell by looking at it, but each layer of bobbin is entirely different. There are regions of rich saturation, medium saturation, and white, and the blending between them is stunning. Of course, all the pastels between colors are making me crave the muted pastels of SpunRightRound’s “Mutant Flamingo” or “Fig,” but I have several more braids to get through first. Note to self: small stash for the wheel! Also shown is the practice fiber I have on my trindle, which I so thoughtfully received as a birthday gift. When I can get the drafting to work, I love it. When I can’t, yargh. It was a lot easier for me to spin a woolen prep (rolags) on my friend’s trindle a few months ago. The merino/silk blend I’m practicing on is pretty grippy to itself (I suspect this is a dye issue). I hope it gets better soon, and I’m sure it would if I just committed to spinning with it – even at risk of wasting the fiber!

Yarn love Marianne base in "Charm." First ounce done. I love this stuff!

Yarn love Marianne base in “Charm.” First ounce done. I love this stuff!

I am no expert at drop spindling. I'm hoping it was a poor fiber decision. Perfectly good trindle, though!

I am no expert at drop spindling. I’m hoping it was a poor fiber decision. Perfectly good trindle, though!

I’ve been enabled recently, and I finally pounced on my first Pigeonroof Studios fiber. I love Krista’s color sense, and I have been stalking both her website and her etsy shop for months. This is Pomegranate Instinct in a SW Merino, which is my favorite for socks. Please don’t drool on the screen, it’s only a hasty photo taken before work this morning. Might I also put it out there that her shipping was phenomenal? She only charges first class rates, and to top it all off, my Friday morning order went out immediately and arrived on my doorstep half a country away by Monday. A+ and I’ll be revisiting your shop!

Hello, sock spinning goodness. Good of you to arrive so quickly!

Hello, sock spinning goodness. Good of you to arrive so quickly!

Finally, here are some updates from my knitting lately. The first parrotfish sock will be finished by end of week (if not sooner), and I bound off my viajante-inspired cowl last night. No FO photo of that, because it would require a selfie. I guess I’d say the design intent was good, but I probably won’t be repeating it. Shortening Viajante was the right thing to do, but slowing down the increases would have been wise. I love the yarn knit up, and as such, I plan to purchase Polwarth or Rambouillet from SpunRightRound when next I purchase fiber. (As in, squishy, lofty, and not at all superwash for a different cowl design!).

Parrotfish sock and Vijante cowl in handspun yarn from volomortuus batt.

Parrotfish sock and Vijante cowl in handspun yarn from volomortuus batt.

Finishing that cowl frees me up for the next finishing task, my Grandma’s hat. This is Selbu Modern in progress. I will repeat the first pattern repeat to add length. I didn’t check gauge, and I’m pretty darn sure I’m not getting it. Hopefully it resembles a tam/beret when I’m done!

Selbu modern for my grandma.

Selbu modern for my grandma.

In other news, I’m dreaming of purchasing my own wheel and knitting down the stash. The next polar vortex (third of the year) is due tomorrow, so I’m thinking Hiro cast on is in order! We shall see. Until then, knit the good yarn!